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Full text of "Conflict in Vietnam (1986)(Microprose)"

CONFLICT 

IN 
VIETNAM 








fi*5|3 



AflCRO PROSE 



SlMULlTlQM B SCI 



?I986 



15 JUNE 1986 
CHANGE 1 



INTRODUCTION 

When the United States intervened in Vietnam, many Americans expected it to be like 
World War II. It wasn't CONFLICT IN VIETNAM puts>ou in the shoes and choppers 
of the battlefield commanders so you can experience for yourself how the war WAS fought. 
Its five games recreate five of the war's decisive battles. They challenge your strategic thinking 
while they increase your understanding of guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency 
operations. 

The first simulation, PRELUDE: DIEN BEN PHU, 1954, recreates the decisive battle 
between Ho Chi Minn's guerrilla army and the French colonial army. This battle ended 
France's colonial rule and set the stage for American involvement. The simulation is a 
short introduction to CONFLICT IN VIETNAM'S game system. The game also includes 
a "what-if" variant in which you can End out if the French could have won if America had 
come to the rescue. 

INTO THE VALLEY: IA DRANG, 1965 simulates the first battle between the North 
Vietnamese army and America's airmobile First Cavalry Division. Totally reliant on heli- 
copters for transport, the First Cav leapfrogged inland and up the la Drang valley to a 
resounding victory. It demonstrated the revolutionary impact of the helicopter on counter- 
insurgency operations. The game includes variants that allow you to explore the relative 
effectiveness of other forces the Americans could have deployed: light infantry and 
armored cavalry. 

After la Drang, the Americans slowly ground down the Communist forces, leading 
North Vietnam's leadership to make a desperate grab for decisive victory, THE TIDE 
TURNS: KHE SANH, 1968 simulates a crucial battle in this pivotal campaign, the 
watershed in American involvement The game includes a number of variants that enable 
you to try out different North Vietnamese strategies, including a variant randomizer option 
that confronts the US player with a randomly selected strategy. 

As American forces withdrew in 1969 and 1970, the North Vietnamese army hovered 
in its sanctuaries across the Cambodian border, waiting for an auspicious moment to strike. 
In May of 1 970, the Americans and South Vietnamese launched a series of attacks against 
these base areas. EMPTY FISHHOOK: CAMBODIA, 1 970 recreates the incursion into the 
"Fishhook" region of Cambodia. The operation was a typical search-and-deslroy mission, 
but one with the prospect of a critical victory. Like KHE SANH this game also includes 
a number of variants containing different deployments, and a variant randomizer. 

After American troops withdrew, the North Vietnamese renewed their assault on the 
South. FIRST CRACKS: QUANGTRI.1972, recreates their attack across the Demilitarized 
Zone into South Vietnam's northernmost province. Led by tanks and supported by heavy 
artillery, the' North Vietnamese stormed through the South's border defenses and pressed 
on toward the province's capital, Quang Tri City. The struggle for Quang Tri revealed weak- 
nesses in the ARVN that would prove fatal three years later. The game's two variants enable 
you to recreate the first desperate week of the blitzkrieg or the entire battle to the fall 
of Quang Tri. 

These simulations can be played as individual games or as a series of connected scenarios 
in conjunction with the "Battle Briefings" section of this manual. Each "Briefing" contains 
historical background, a discussion of the actual battle, and all information needed for each 
variant. The games are in chronological order and the historical sections connect so 
CONFLICT IN VIETNAM conveys an overview of the War from Dien Bien Phu to the 
fall of the South. Whether you want to play a challenging game or experience a series of 
historical simulations, your silicon time machine awaits! 









INITIAL DEPLOYMENT 




% m » '& 






LOADING ON 
ATARI 800/XL/XE COMPUTERS 

This version can be played on an Atari 400, 600XL, 800, 800XL, 1 200XL, or 1 30XE. The 
machine must have at least 48K and a disk drive. A joystick is optional, but recommended. 

Loading 

1 . Turn off your computer and remove all cartridges. If you ha ve a j6ystick, plug it into 
the first slot. 

2. Make sure the monitor (or TV ) and disk drive are turned on. 

3. Do you need to format a disk to save games? If so. do thai now. 

4. Insert the game disk and close the drive door. 

5. Turn on your computer. The game loads automatical] y. 

When it is loaded you will see the title screen with a scrolling introduction. Press the START 
if you want to skip the introduction. Next enter the operational day code when prompted. 
A correct code allows you to select the game, variant, and play options (see below), 

Preparing a Blank Disk for Saving Games 

Important: To save a game, you must have a separate formatted disk ready BEFORE 
you load the game disk. We suggest you format a disk before you begin play. Once formatted 
this disk can be used to save any MicroProse Command Series game. 

To format a disk, load your DOS disk into the computer — follow the loading instructions 
above (steps 1,2,4, 5), but hold down the OPTION key after your turn on the computer. 

When the DOS menu appears, remove the DOS disk and insert a disk into the drive 
(WARNING: formating the disk erases everything on it!). Select the "Format Disk" option 
from the menu. Select single density if given a choice. Thereafter follow the instructions 
as they appear on your screen. 

LOADING ON 
COMMODORE C-64/C-128 COMPUTERS 

This version requires a C-64 or C-I28 with a disk drive. A joystick is optional, but 
recommended. 

Loading 

1. Attach one joystick at Port #2. Do NOT leave a joystick in port #1 (a joystick in 
port # I can scramble your controls). 

2. Turn on your disk drive. (WARNING: do not leave a disk in the drive when you 
are turning your computer off and on - your disk could be damaged! ) 

3. Turn on your computer (if it's already on, remove any disks and cartridges, turn it 
off, then turn it on again). If you have a C-128, turn on the computer, then hold down the 
Commodore key while you press the reset button (next to the on-off switch). This places 
it in C-64 mode. 

4. Do you need to format a disk to sa ve games? If so, do that now. 

5. Insert the game disk and close the drive door. 

6. Type the following: 

LOAD "*",8 



and press RETURN. When the word "READY" appears on the screen, type the following: 

RUN 

Loading takes about one full minute. 

When the game loads you will see the title screen with a scrolling introduction. Press 
the F7 key if you want to skip the introduction. Next enter the operational day code when 
prompted. A correct code allows you to select the game, variant, and play options 
(see below). 

Preparing a Blank Disk for Saving Games 

Important: To save a game, you must have a separate formatted disk ready BEFORE 
you load she game disk. We suggest you format a disk before you begin play. Once formatted 
this disk can be used to save any MicroProse Command Series game. 

To formal a disk, turn on your computer and insert a disk into the drive (WARNING: 
formating the disk erases everything on it! ). Then type the following: 

OPEN 1 5, 8, 1 5, "N:VIETNAM, 66" 

and press RETURN. In multiple drive systems, type a zero (0) after the N. The term 
"VIETNAM" is just a disk name, while "66" is a disk identification number. Actually, you 
ca n use any name and two-digit number for your disk. 

The disk is formatted when the disk drive is finished turning (it will lake some time). 
Then either type CLOSE 15 and press RETURN, or remove the disk and turn off the 
computer. 

LOADING ON 
APPLE Ile/Hc COMPUTERS 

This version requires an Apple 11+ with 64K RAM, an Apple lie (either with 64K or 128K 
RAM), or an Apple He. The computer must have APPLESOFT BASIC in ROM, a 
disk drive and the disk drive controller in slot 6 on (he He (its normal position). A joystick 
is optional. 

Loading 

1 . Turn off your computer. 

2. Press CAPS LOCK so that the key is locked DOWN. Caps lock must be down 
("on") throughout the game. 

3. Insert the game disk and close the dri ve door. 

4. Turn on your computer. The game will boot automatically. 

NOTE You can load when the machine is on by inserting the disk and pressing 
Control-Open Apple-Reset on He or lie. 

When the game loads you will see the title screen with a scrolling introduction. Press 
the RETURN key if you want to skip the introduction. Next enter the operational day code 
when prompted. A correct code allows you to select the game, variant, and play options 
(see below). 

Preparing a Blank Disk for Saving Gaines 

You need not prepare disks in advance for saving games on the Apple. Disk formatting 
and other preparation can occur within the simulation program, with appropriate prompts. 
However, you will need a blank or spare disk to save games. 



LOADING ON 
IBM PC COMPUTERS 

This version requires an IBM PC, PC/XT, PC/AT, PCjr, or 1007r compatible with 
128K RAM, a graphics display system (color-graphics or enhanced graphics adapter in the 
PC, PC/XT or PC/AT), and a disk drive. A joystick is optional. The entire game always 
uses a single floppy disk drive (drive "A", the left hand drive in a two-drive system). 

Loading 

1 . Turn off your computer. 

2. Insert the game disk and close the drive door. 

3. Turn on your computer. The game will boot automatically. 

NOTE: You can load the game when the machine is on by inserting the disk and 
pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del together. 

When the game loads you will see the title screen with a scrolling introduction. Press the 
RETURN key if you want to skip the introduction. Next enter the operational day code 
when prompted. A correct code allows you to select a saved game for continuation or to 
go on to a new game by selecting the scenario, variant, and play options (see below). 

ALL COMPUTERS: 
RELOADING A SAVED GAME 

Saved games are recalled by using the normal loading procedures (as if it were new). Then 
once play starts press "L" to load the previously saved game. See "The Basics of Command: 
Controls" on page 1 4 for details. 

Exception: The IBM PC version gives you the option of recalling one of your saved 
games before starting play. Enter the appropriate letter for your previously saved game. 



OPERATIONAL "DAY" CODES 

IMPORTANT! 

After the introductory screens, you must identify yourself with the correct operational 
code word. The computer will ask for the correct operational code for specific day. such 
as "ENTER OPERATIONAL CODE: DAY I". Day code boxes appear throughout this 
manual, showing a day, and the proper cixle response. Find the box with the correct day. 
type the code word shown, and press return. 

For example, if the day was I. then day code is JEB STUART'. Tvpc IEB STUART 
and press RETURN. 

If you give the correct code, you are allowed a full selection of options. If you give the 
wrong code, you are automatically assigned to Dien Bien Phu. 1954. There you can 
command communist Vict Minh troops fora short period of lime. 




DAY: I 
CODE: JEB STUART 



BATTLES AND VARIANTS 

Choose Your Game 

CONFLICT IN VIETNAM has five different games: 

1. Prelude: EHen Bien Phu 1954 

2. Into the Valley: la Drang 1965 

3. The Tide Turns: Khe Sanh 1968 

4. Empty Fishhook: Cambodia 1970 

5. First Cracks: QuangTri 1972 

Press the appropriate n umber key to select a game. 

Unless you are an experienced "Command Series" general, we suggest you play 
Dien Bien Phu 1954 as your first game and follow the tutorial in the first part of the "Battle 
Briefings" section. 

Simulation Variants 

Each of the five games has variants. Press the appropriate number key to select a variant. 

Variant #1 is always a historical situation. Other variants are historical situations with 
different time spans, and/or illustrate an historical "what if?" A complete description of 
each variant appears in the "Battle Briefings" for that game . 

Play Options 

There are six options available each time you play CONFLICT IN VIETNAM: 
Free World Command: Player or Computer 
Communist Command: Player or Computer 
Unit Display: Icons or Symbols 

Play Balance: ++Communist, +Communist, Fair, +Free World, or ++Free World 
Speed: Slow, Medium or Fast 
Controller Keyboard or Joystick 

To move between options push the joystick up or down, or use an appropriate key 
(OPTION on the Atari, F3 and F5 on the Commodore; Up and Down cursor keys on 
IBM PC, Apple He or Apple lie; "P" and '*;" keys on Apple II+), 

To change an option, press the joystick fire button, or use an appropriate key (SELECT 
on the Atari, Fl on the Commodore, function key F7 on the IBM PC, or space bar any 
Apple II). 

Player/Computer sets which forces the computer plays, and which forces you 
(as "player") command. Note that it is possible to play "computer vs computer" with you 
as a spectator, or to play against a friend ("player vs. player"). 

Unit Display sets units to appear either as graphic icons or standard military unit 
symbols. Icons are recommended for beginning players. This choice can be changed 
during play. 

Play Balance adjusts strength relationships to favor either the Communists or the Free 
World. In addition, it adjusts how aggressive and competitive a computer-directed army 
will behave. 

When playing against the computer, a novice should give his own side a + or ++ 
advantage, while an experienced player may want to give the computer's forces a + or ++ 
advantage. Remember, as you play you gain experience, while the computer starts fresh 
each time. Therefore, you will need to shift the balance in favor of the computer over 
repealed plays. 

Speed adjusts the lime delay after messages. Slow and medium are recommended for 
beginners, experienced players usually prefer fast. 

Controller selects keyboard or joystick input. 



Difficulty Level 

Difficulty Level cannot be set independently, but is adjusted automatically to reflect the 
settings for the Commanders and the Play Balance. 
In player vs. computer games, the difficulty levels are: 
Introductory (++ Player's Side) This is the default level, and is recommended for 
beginning players 

Intermediate (+ Player's Side) 

Historical (Even) This level is suggested for players interested in the historical 
experience 

Advanced (+ Computer's Side) 
Expert (++ Computer's Side) 
At the end of play, the evaluation of the player's performance will reflect the Difficulty 
Level selected. A victory achieved at the Advanced or Expert level will be rated higher than 
the same degree of victory at the Introductory or Intermediate level. The historical level 
represents the balance obtained in reality. 

On the OPTION screen Player vs. Player games are called Two Player Games and 
Computer vs. Computer games are called Demonstration Games regardless of the Play 
Balance selected. However, at the end of play, the handicap will be noted, and the degree of 
victory will be adjusted to reflect it, just as in a solitaire game. 

To Begin Play 

Once you have set the game options, play can begin. Press the appropriate key for 
your computer 
Atari: START 
Commodore: F7 
Apple: RETURN 
IBM: RETURN 



10 









n 

THE BASICS 
OF COMMAND 




OVERVIEW 

This section provides a quick overview to help you read the screen and master the game 
controls. 

The Tutorial: If you are new to Command Series games, you may wish to leam using 
a tutorial found in the Dien Bien Phu game in the Battle Briefings section, starting on 
page 40. As you play through the tutorial, refer back to this section for additional help. 

Summary of Play: In general, you play by moving the cursor around the map screen 
to examine troops and terrain, and to issue orders. Your orders to units can either include 
a specific objective, or leave objectives to the discretion of the "computerized" unit 
commander. You then watch your units move into action and observe where enemy units 
appear, attack and retreat. As the battle develops youTl continue to check the situation 
and issue new orders. 

Your goal is to perform well as a general. Various locations are assigned "victory 
points" representing their value to your superiors. However, as in the real war, the key 
measure of your success is how many casualties you inflict compared to the losses you suffer.' 

THE SCREEN 

This section describes what you see on the screen display. The game screen is split into two 
major areas. The text and message area is above, while below a military map shows terrain 
and troop positions. 

Typically players move the cursor (with joystick or the keyboard), and then press the 
Ere button or space bar to examine the unit framed by the cursor. 
The Map 

Note: The screen colors on some computer versions are designed for easy change using 
just your TV or monitor color controls. Fee! free to experiment until you find a combination 
suited to your taste. 



Time, 
Weather. 
Messages 



Action 
Order* 



Current 
Formation 



Una 
Some 



Unit 
Slrrnzih& 
Equipment 



Urn 
Suppl* 
A vtalablr 



WHO 



FORM 
L-ORDR 



HUGETTE GARRISON 
1950 MEN, 6 MORTARS 

3 DAYS SUPPLY- 

FORTIFIED EXP CRACK 

DEFEND 1 



Ufui 
EffvcRvenev 



EFF 100- 



Vmt 
Experience 



4:00 PM MAY 1,1954 CLOUDY 




Objective 



12 



Terrain: The map uses an invisible hex grid to regulate the position and movement of 
units. Not all terrai n features are present in each game. See the centerfold insert for a detailed 
map key. 

Units: Your units are always visible. Enemy units are visible only when your units have 
spotted and/or contacted them. Each nationality has a unique color: Red for Communist, 
Blue for USA, Black for French or ARVN. (Exceptions: Apple II version without double- 
his-res graphics uses Purple for all Free World troops; some IBM PC versions have different 
colors.) 

Cursor You can move this open rectangular frame around the screen, hex by hex 
(see "The Controls" below for details). Information and orders relate to the hex and unit 
framed by the cursor. 

Objective icons symbolize the objective of your unit's movement or attack. Objective 
icons vary with individual computer models. 

Attack icons appear on units during the game to symbolize ground, artillery and air 
attacks as they occur. 

Other icons include symbols for units which reached their objective, contacted the 
enemy, suffered such heavy losses they cease attacking, are retreating, or are without supplies. 

Text &. Message Area 

Whenever you move the cursor onto one of your units or a "known" enemy unit, and 
then press the Gre button (or space bar on the keyboard), a text message appears describing 
information about that unit. 

In addition, reports and information appear in this area as your troops encounter enemy 
forces and fight battles. 

WHO = Unit Name, Strength & Equipment, and Supply: This area identifies the 
unit, gives its current strength, and shows how many "Basic Loads" of supply are available 
(see supply and logistics for details). Less information appears for enemy units. 

FORM = Current Formation: A unit may be in one of six formations. Units auto- 
matically adopt formations appropriate to their orders. You can understand your troops' 
capabilities better by observing their formations: 

Mobile: A rapid movement formation with poor combat capability. Airmobile 
units travelling by helicopter also use this formation. 

Deployed: A general-purpose formation for movement and combat. 
Defense: A formation for repulsing enemy attacks. 
Entrenched: A stronger type of defense. 
Fortified: A very strong type of defense. 

Garrison: Fortified and immobile - unit ignores all orders to move or attack. 
EXP = Unit Experience: There are five grades of unit experience, ranging from Raw 
(the worst), to Green, Veteran, Crack, and Elite (the best). Unit experience can change 
slowly during a game. 

EFF = Unit Effectiveness: This rates how "fresh" or "tired" the troops are, and can 
cha nge rapidly . Maxj m urn effectiveness is 1 00%, while units at 30% or less usuall y disintegrate 
if brought to battle. 

ORDR = Action Orders: This indicates the current orders to the unit. There are four 
orders options: 

Move: The unit moves to a new position. The objective icon on the map shows its 
destination. Units with helicopter transport automatically use them as appropriate. 

Attack: The unit is attacking either a specific terrain objective shown on the map 
by the objective icon, or targets or opportunity (if under "local command"). 

13 



Defend: The unit will defend either a specific terrain objective (shown by the 
objective icon), or a nearby area of ground (if under "local command"). 

Reserve: The unit is resting and regaining strength either in place (if under "local 
comrruind") or at a specified location (shown by the objective icon). 

Message Strip (Time, Weather, etc): While the game is running in "accelerated 
real time" the current time, date and weather appears. When the game is halted for some 
special action or utility an appropriate message appears. 

THE CONTROLS 

In CONFLICT IN VIETNAM you are a general commanding Free World or Communist 
forces. To direct your forces, move the cursor across the map onto a unit. This allows you 
to see information and issue orders to that unit. 

Special for Apple II Controls: Be sure the CAPS LOCK key is down (locked), Your 
keyboard controls may not work otherwise. 

Freezing Play 

F key = Freeze the Clock: Normally the game runs in "accelerated real time" (the clock 
is constantly ticking away). Pressing T" stops the clock, allowing you to examine units and 
terrain, and/or issue orders in a leisurely fashion. Press "F" again to restart the dock. 

Helpful Hint: When first learning the game, freeze it and then explore the other controls 
while learning how to play. Un-freeze the game to watch what happens. 

Moving the Cursor 

Move the frame cursor around the map to inspect terrain features or select a unit. If the 
cursor reaches the edge of the map, the map automatically scrolls (as appropriate) to show 
other parts of the battlefield. 

Joystick Cursor Control: Move the joystick to move the cursor. When the cursor frames 
a unit, press the Ere button to "select" that unit Information about the unit appears at the top 
of the screen. 

Keyboard Cursor Control: 

C-64/C-128: Use the CRSR keys to move downward or righiward, Hold down 
SHIFT with the appropriate CRSR key to move the cursor upward or leftward. To move 
the cursor faster press "<" for up, **=" for down, ">" for left, and "." for right. 

APPLE He or lie: Use the cursor arrow keys. 

APPLE II+: Use the arrow keys for left and right movement. Press "P" for upward 
movement and ";" for downward movement. 

IBM PC: Use the four-direction arrow keys. To move the cursor faster hold down 
SHIFT while using these keys. 

Atari 800/XL/XE: Use the white-framed arrow keys near the RETURN key. 
To move the cursor faster hold down CONTROL while using these keys. 

W key = Who is Reporting?: When a unit reports to you a message appears at the 
top of the screen. Press "W" to move the cursor instantly onto that unit. 

Inf ormati o n at the Cursor 

Fire Button or Space Bar = Unit Information: If the cursor is framing a unit, pressing 
the fire button (on the joystick) or the space bar (on the keyboard) displays information 
about that unit. 

G key = General Commanding the Unit (not available in Atari 800/XL/XE versions): 
If the cursor is framing a unit, pressing the G key shows the name of the general commanding 
them along with information about the skill of the general and his staff. 

14 



C key = City Information: If the cursor frames a city (or town or village) or victory 
points hex, pressing this key displays the name and specific victory points value. If cities 
are "hidden" underneath units you can find them by pressing the T" key (see below). 

How to Issue Orders - Using the Keyboard 

To issue orders use the following procedure: 

1. Find the Unit: Move the cursor onto your unit. 

2. Select Orders: Press the A, D, M or R key to select an order (see the list of unit 
orders below). 

3. Select Objective or Local Command: Decide whether you wish to specify an 
objective, or let the unit select its own objective (operate under "local command"). 

3a. Local Command: Local command is the default. To ensure that units operate 
under local command, move the cursor over the unit and press the space bar. 
3b. Objective: Move the cursor onto the objective and press the "H" key. 

How to Issue Orders - Using a Joystick 

To issue orders use the following procedure: 

1. Find the Unit: Move the cursor onto your unit. 

2. Display Info: Press the fire button, which displays information about the unit. 

3. Select Orders: Press the fire button, which displays a menu of possible orders. 
Move the joystick to highlight the order you want, then press the joystick button to select 
that order. 

4. Select Objective or Local Command: Decide whether you wish to specify an 
objective, or let the unit select its own objective (operate under "local command"). 

4a. Local Command: Local command is the default. To ensure that units operate 
under local command, leave the cursor over the unit and press the fire button. 

4b. Objective: Use the joystick to move the cursor to the objective hex. If the 
objective is unoccupied ground, one press of the fire button sets the objective. If the objective 
is occupied by an enemy unit, the first press displays information about the enemy and the 
second press sets the objective. If the objective is occupied by one of your own units, you 
must use the "H" keyboard command to set the objecu've (see above). With an Apple 
joystick, you can use the SECOND fire button to designate the objective in all cases. 
Unit Orders 

Orders can be issued either by joystick, or keyboard, or a combination of the two. 
Below is a list of possible orders and keyboard equivalents: 

A key = At lack Order; The unit adopts deployed formation and attacks to gain a 
terrain objective (if an objective is specified), or a nearby enemy (if under local command). 

D key = Defend Order: The unit adopts defense formation and moves either to a 
specific place (if an objective is specified), or to best nearby ground (if under local command). 

WARNING: A unit may move (in defense formation) to a new location and defend 
that if under local command — the unit commander selects his ground. If you want to 
defend a particular place you MUST specify that place as the unit's objective. 

M key ■ Move Order The unit adopts mobile formation and moves to the specified 
location. If no location is specified the unit remains in place in mobile formation — units 
ordered to move with "local command" will remain in place. 

R key = Reserve Order. The unit adopts an appropriate formation, moves to the 
specified location, and remains there regaining strength and effectiveness. While moving 
reserve units use mobile formation. Once at their objective they adopt defense formation. 
Units under "local command" go into reserve at their current location. 

Helpful Hint: Units won't react instantly. Units involved in battle and/or at low 

15 



effectiveness take especially long to respond. 

Unit Orders Objective 

To assign an objective, first issue an order, then move the cursor to the objective and 
press the "H" key or the joystick fire button. To avoid assigning an objective (i.e., leaving the 
unit under local control) begin a different command. 

H key = Here (specifies objective): Move the cursor to the objective location, then 
press the "H" key. That location becomes the unit's objective. Note that only locations can 
be objectives, not enemy units. 

Fire Button = Here (specifies objective): Move the cursor to the objective location 
and press the fire button. 

When using the fire button to specify an empty hex location as the objective, press it 
once. When using it to specify an enemy unit, press it twice (the first time displays infor- 
mation about the enemy, the second confirms the objective). The fire button cannot be 
used to specify an objective occupied by one of your own units (including the unit receiving 
the orders). You must use the "H" key in this situation. 

General Information 

T key = Terrain Toggle: Pressing "T" shows the terrain beneath units (by making the 
units invisible). Pressing the key again makes them reappear. 

U key = Unit Icons/ Symbols Toggle: Pressing "U" changes the unit graphics from 
icons (small pictures) to standard military map symbols, or vice veisa. 

Helpful Hint: Some icons are difficult to distinguish near certain terrain. If you prefer 
playing with icons, you may wish to toggle to symbols periodically to make sure you haven't 
overlooked any troops. 

? key = Casualty & Victory Status: Pressing "?" (holding the SHIFT key is usually 
required) displays the casualties of each side, terrain captured, and which side currently has 
the advantage. 

Special Utilities 

B key = Flash-Back: Pressing "B" allows you to examine the situation at midnight 
up to 15 days ago, day by day. Then examine the options menu at the top of the screen. 
(This utility is not available on early model Atari computers, Atari computers with less 
than 64K, nor Apple II computers with less than 1 28K). 

Q key = Change Player Roles: Press "Q" to change roles. Pressing this key also 
renders all troops temporarily invisible. Press *T" to restore the troops on the screen. 

Player vs Computer: Pressing "Q" freezes the game, temporarily hides all units 
and switches the player-computer role. For example, if the player was formerly the Free 
World against a Communist computer, pressing this key switches the player to the 
Communist side, while the computer takes over the Free World. 

Player vs Player: Press "Q" whenever the other player needs to take his turn at the 
controls (see below for two- player game techniques). 

Computer vs Computer Press "Q" to change the side begin displayed in a computer 
vs. computer game. You cannot "take over" from the computer. 

> or + key = Faster Realtime (use the "+" key on the C-64, use ">" on all other 
machines); Each press increases the game speed one level (from slow to medium, or 
medj um to fast) by shortening the delay after messages. 

< or - key = Slower Realtime (use the "-" key on the C-64, use "<" on all other 
machines): Each press slows the game speed one level (from fast to medium, or medium 
to slow) by increasing the delay after messages. 

16 



Saving and Reloading the Game 

IMPORTANT: In all versions except the Apple n you must have a formatted disk 
available. DO NOT attempt to save a C-64 or Atari game unless you have a formatted 
disk in hand! 

S key = Save the Game: To save the game, press the "S" key at any lime during play. 
Remove your game disk and replace it with the disk to hold the saved game. Then enter a 
title for the saved game. The title can be up to eight (8) characters and numbers long. 
Do not use spaces or punctuation. 

When you save a game note this tide, along with the game, variant and play balance 
level on a separate sheet of paper for future reference. 

Exception The IBM PC version does not require you to enter a game title. Simply enter 
one of the letters shown on the screen. That automatically becomes the name of your 
saved game. 

L key = Load a Previously Saved Game: IMPORTANT: All Command Series 
products use a special "reload during play" technique for continuing a saved game. You 
load a previous game after you have started a new game. To reload a game, use the following 
procedure: 

1 . Start by loading the game disk normally. Enter the day code when requested. You 
must then select the same game and variant as the game previously saved. You can pick 
different options (i.e., you can switch from limited to full intelligence, and/or from human 
to computer play) with one exception: make sure you specify the same play balance level 
as the saved game. 

2. After the new game starts, press the "L" key. You will be prompted to insert your disk 
with the saved game, type the name of the saved game, and wait until it finishes loading. 
Then remove the saved-game disk and insert your game disk again. 

NOTE: Saved games files on disk record the game, variant and certain play-balance 
information, but not the other game options. This is why game, variant, and play-balance 
must be set to the same when restarting, while other options need not remain the same. 

Exception: The IBM PC version does not allow reloading during play. Instead, at the 
start of the game you have the option to reload a previously saved game (or to start a 
new game). 

Two Player "Head to Head" Games 

Only one player can be "active" (control the cursor and issue orders) at a time. To 
change active players, simply press the "Q" key (then press T" to make troops visible again). 
There are four standard ways to play a two-player game, as well as innumerable variants 
and options you can try out yourself. 

1. Free Flow: The inactive player can press "Q" at any time to take control of the 
keyboard and joystick. This means players can pass control back and forth as needed. 

2. Daily Turns: Players alternate taking turns on a daily basis. Right after supply 
distribution players press "Q" to change sides. 

3. Morning Orders & Battle Reports: At 3:00 AM each morning (before dawn) 
freeze the game (press "F") and allow each player to issue orders as desired. Each rime an 
attack occurs during the day each (or both) players have the option to freeze the game and 
issue new orders. Orders cannot be issued at any other time. This is the most realistic way 
to play. 

4. Tournament Freeze Play: Both players can observe the course of the game. 
Whenever either wishes to use the keyboard or joystick, he must press "F" first to freeze 
the game. When he is finished he presses "F' again to resume the game action. If the player 
wishing to use the keyboard or joystick is not currently active, he needs to press "Q" right 

17 



after "F" to take control. In toumement play the active player can request the inactive player 
to turn away or stand beyond clear eyesight of the screen during the frozen period (to 
preserve confidentiality in the lirriited intelligence option). It is a game forfeit fault to unfreeze 
the game or press "Q" while the other player is away from the screen. 

Helpful Hint: Since the Communist player can generally see all Free World forces, 
but not vice versa, it is recommended that the players watch the action from the Free World 
perspective except when the communist player specifically wants to check his units. At 
this point the Free World player should turn away briefly while the Communist player 
changes (via "Q" and "T*). 

SUPPLY & LOGISTICS 

Basic Loads 

Historically, supply was rated in "Basic Loads". A unit consumes one Basic Load per day 
if it is inactive (neither moves nor fights). A unit consumes extra supplies when moving 
and when fighting. 

For simplicity a Basic Load is termed a "day" on the display. Therefore, a unit with 
3 days supply has enough to stand in place outside of combat for 3 days without feeling the 
effects of a supply shortage. 

Units without supply report that fact as a message to you. Unsupplied units move and 
fight at a severe disadvantage, and eventually surrender if left unsupplied. 

Receiving Supplies 

Troops on both sides are automatically supplied just before noon every day. The 
orders are issued automatically. This supply will replenish a unit's basic loads ("days"). 

Supplies are issued from immobile supply bases either directly to units, or to mobile 
headquarters which in turn pass on the supplies to troop units. Most units have supplies 
sent overland. If troops aren't close enough to a supply base or a supplied headquarters, 
then the unit cannot replenish its supplies. Some units are helicopter supplied. These always 
get supplies direct from the base, regardless of overland supply lines. 

Army Supply Levels 

The entire army, as a whole, has a limited amount of supplies at its supply base(s). This 
amount is replenished daily, and the rate of replenishment may (or may not) be adequate. 
Check the Battle Briefings for the initial supplies and replenishment level of your army. 

REPLACEMENTS & 
REINFORCEMENTS 

Replacements 

Units below authorized strength will receive a few additional men and equipment 
daily or slightly less often. Replacements arrive automatically. 

Reinforcements 

New "reinforcement" units may arrive during the course of the game. In the Battle 
Briefings section, each game and variant lists an "order of appearance" that specifies what 
units arrive when and where. 

Reinforcements appear on the map automatically, and under local command. Then 
you can give them orders as you desire. 

18 



VICTORY 

Ending the Game 

The game ends at 6PM on the Snal day of the variant, or when all critical locations are 
held by one side, whichever comes Erst If there are no critical locations in that game and 
variant, the game won't end until the Last day. 

Every evening at 6 PM current casualties are displayed, points for terrain objectives, 
and a message indicating which side has the advantage. When the game is over press "?" 
to see the Snal results. 

Scores & Victory 

Scoring: You score victory points throughout the game for each man and weapon 
lost by the enemy. 

At the end of the game you score points for all terrain objectives you captured and still 
hold (including terrain you initially had and never lost). Terrain objectives vary from 
scenario to scenario. In some scenarios a few terrain objectives are Critical Locations. 
Critical locations ha ve a high point value. In addition, if you hold a certain number of critical 
locations you are assured of decisive victory. 

In games 2 (la Drang), 3 (Khe Sanh) and 4 (Cambodia), scoring for casualties is very 
important, while points for terrain objectives are of lesser importance. 

In games 1 (Dien Bien Phu) and 5 (Quang Tri) terrain objectives are more important 
than casualties. 

Victory: At the end of the game the victorious side is indicated along with the degree 
of victory. This ranges from slight (the game was virtually a tie), marginal, tactical, decisive, 
to total (the game was an overwhelming victory for that side). 

In addition to level of victory, the winning player is awarded a rank based on his 
performance. The ranks are from Private (the lowest), to Sergeant, Chief Warrant Officer, 
Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant-Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier General, Major 
General, Lie utenant General, and General of the Army (highest). 




DAY: 2 
CODELELOI 



19 
























20 



m 

THE ART 

OF COMMAND 

IN VIETNAM 










OVERVIEW 

To become a skillful armchair general, you must become familiar with the capabilities of 
your units, the effects of terrain and weather, and the significance of various formations. 
In general these relationships are fairly intuitive. For example, it's easier to move in good 
weather than bad, and attacks are more likely to be successful over clear terrain than in 
mountains. 

Game Scale 

Each hex represents an area one mile across. Each "tick of the clock" represents the 
passage of 30 minutes. Each unit receives a movement opportunity about every eight hours 
(i.e., it can take up to 8 hours for units to receive, process, act upon and report back on their 
orders). 

Units are typically battalion (600-1000 men) or squadron (of 12-24 aircraft) sue, 
although some units are smaller or larger. Ad hoc formations of varying sizes are also 
included. 

Planning Your Battle 

The game begins with units of both sides already under orders, representing the historical 
situation when you step onto the scene. Therefore it's wise to immediately freeze the game 
(press "F") and survey the situation carefully. You might not agree with your predecessors 
plans! If you haven't learned them already, familiarize yourself with the capabilities and 
limitations of your units, the commands, and the effects of terrain. Also examine your Battle 
Briefings to see your objective, supplies, replacements and reinforcements. In some battles 
virtually your entire force appears as reinforcements, while in others your entire force is 
available at the start 

The Battlefield: Look over the map, scrolling around as nec essary . Refer to the terrain 
keys and maps (see the centerfold area in this manual). Look for terrain favorable to your 
movement, note terrain favorable to the attack and defense. Use the T key to examine 
any terrain hidden by troop units. Finally look for victory locations, especially critical 
victory locations. There's nothing more distressing than fighting a good battle only to see 
the enemy has captured a critical location elsewhere and won! 

The Troops: Examine each friendly and enemy unit in turn. Note any especially strong 
or weak units. Look at the pattern of deployment — where are you strong and where are 
you weak? Is the enemy strong and weak in the same areas? If you don't know much about 
enemy deployments, what are the especially vulnerable areas where he might appear? 

Formulate a Plan: Decide how youll achieve your objective. Do you need to protect 
or capture important terrain locations, or is your goal simply to inflict casualties on the 
enemy, regardless of position? Will you need to move troops, and if so, how many, to where, 
and for what purpose? Decide how to get the best from each unit and how to make different 
units work together effectively. If you are defending a position, try to anticipate the enemy's 
likely routes of advance, and decide how to best counter them. If you are attacking, decide 
where to attack from, and how to reach that position. In all cases make sure you assign a 
few fresh units as reserves to replace a defense about to be overrun, or to add extra punch 
to a flagging attack. 

Having a plan and sticking to it avoids the danger of mindlessly pushing units around 
and fighting costly but meaningless battles. However, it's a good idea to recoasider your plan 
every few days. Don't lock yourself into an inflexible approach. 

To set your plan in motion issue the appropriate orders to your units, then unfreeze the 
game (press U P again) and watch things develop. 

22 



TYPES OF TROOPS 

Unit Designations 

French units are identified by their historical designations. See the Dien Bien Phu 
section of the Battle Briefings. 

American and Vietnamese units are designated using a modified form of the US 
military system. Basically, each ground unit is identified by two numbers separated by a 
slash (/), then the troop type, and finally the unit size. The first number is the unit's specific 
identification number, the second is the larger formation to which the unit belongs. The 
troop type indicates the composition of the unit (i.e., armor, infantry, etc.). The size conveys 
where in the military heirarchy the unit stands (i.e., battalion, regiment, etc.). 

EXAMPLE "2/34 Armored Battalion" means the second Battalion of the 34th 
Armored Regiment. 

Small Formations: Small units are designated by a letter before the two numbers, 
or by a letter and unit size before the two numbers. 

EXAMPLE "A/2/20 Aerial Artillery Battery" means Battery A of the second 
Battalion of the 20th Artillery Regiment 

EXAMPLE "L Co., 3/26 Marine Battalion" means L Company of the third Battalion 
of the 26th Marine Regiment. 

Air & Headquarters Units: These units are designated by a single number before the 
type and size. Where possible historical designations are used; where not, arbitrary identi- 
fication numbers are assigned. 

EXAMPLE "232 USN Tactical Fighter Squadron" means the actual 232nd US Navy 
tactical fighter squadron. 

EXAMPLE " 1 si Tactical Fighter Squadron" means one of several arbitrarily designated 
fighter-bomber squadrons. 

EXAMPLE "7th Division Headquarters" means the headquarters element of the 
7th division (in this case an NVA unit). 

French Units 

These troops only appear in the Dien Bien Phu game. 

Garrisons: The defenders of Dien Bien Phu are combinations of many units, 
compressed together to defend around a specific strongpoint. The men themelves were the 
best that France had: paratroopers, Foreign Legionaires, and seasoned regulars. They 
typically have high experience and numerous heavy weapons, as well as standing within 
prepared fortifications. 

The Claudine base has the French headquarters at Dien Bien Phu, and includes the 
artillery capability of the defense (historically a number of 105mm howitzers, plus a couple 
heavier 1 55mm howitzers) with a range of six miles. Claudine has a high defense value 
so you can leave it in "deployed" formation to permit long-range artillery Ere. 

Relief Force Battalions: These units appear in Operation "Vulture" as part of the 
"Condor" overland force. Each unit is just one battalion, smaller than the conglomeration 
of Dien Bien Phu defenders or the communist regiment-sized assault units. 

Recoffless Rifle Battery: The relief force also includes a recoilless rifle battery. These 
man-portable weapons were popular in the 1950's, primarily because they packed the power 
of light artillery while firing from the shoulder or a tripod. One of the more ambitious plans 
for relieving the fortress included airdropping a battery of these guns to troops in Laos and 
then carrying them across the border into Vietnam. Unfortunately, while helpful, light 
artillery isn't powerful enough to win a battle on its own. 

23 



light Tank Squadron contains American-made M-24 light tanks. The French 
dismantled them and air transported the parts to the battle area. A number of tanks were 
shipped this way into the fortress, where they proved to be an asset (although not a decisive 
one). In the "Vulture" variant these tanks form a strong cutting edge for the French forces, 
and should lead the attack. However, their cross-country mobility is not very good. This 
unit is best employed along the road. 

Fighter Squadrons operate at long range against an enemy carefully camouflaged and 
properly entrenched. The numerous anti-aircraft guns deployed by the Vietnamese caused 
high losses and reduced the accuracy of these low-level planes. These fighter-bombers are 
most effective if they make a concentrated strike just before a ground battle. 

U.S. Bomber Wings have the most powerful heavy bombers in the world at the time: 
the B-29. These were the same planes that reduced Japan's cities to rubble even before the 
atomic bomb. They had also delivered devastating strikes against targets in North Korea. 
There is considerable debate about their potential effectiveness bombing targets in Southeast 
Asia in support of the French. 

American Units: Maneuver Elements 

Maneuver elements are intended to move over the landscape, seek out the enemy. 
and engage him in battle. However, the American Army has a strong preference for using 
support elements to win battles (see below), so maneuver elements need only find the 
enemy and keep him pinned down long enough for the massive supporting attacks to 
arrive. This approach is well suited to a war of attrition because it minimizes casualties 
to the maneuver elements. On the other hand, the delay between maneuver contact and 
massed supporting attacks may be too long, allowing the enemy to escape without suffer- 
ing any significant counterattack. 

Despite the predilection for using supporting elements to fight battles, American combat 
doctrine, like that of most other conventional armies, stresses aggressive attacks by maneuver 
elements. Such tactics are well suited to capturing ground, but the troops must pay a price 

in blood. 

Cavalry (Airmobile Infantry) Battalions: When the 1st Cavalry Division was 
activated as a helicopter-borne "airmobile" force, its infantry battalions were organized as 
relatively light units whose primary purpose was to establish contact with the elusive enemy , 
then call the massed firepower of supporting artillery, gunships, and fighter-bombers. Their 
authorized strength of 750 men was significantly less than most other infantry battalions. 
Worse, it was reduced by one company to protect supporting firebases, as well as normal 
attrition due to casualties, illness and leave. Actual battalion strength in the field was rarely 
greater than 500 men. Combat experience taught that this was not enough, and so their 
nominal strength was increased to over 900 by 1968, and leveled off at about 880 in the 
early I970's. 

In the game you should use these units as intended — the "eyes and ears" for powerful. 
long-range supporting weapons. If you order them to attack directly, you'll see your own 
casualties escalate, your kill-ratio drop, your game standing slip, and your future as an army 
officer disappear. 

As a commander you must remember that these units "borrow" helicopters for long- 
range movement. Therefore, long moves are done by airmobile "jump" with your troops 
unable to scout the intervening terrain. Short-range moves of a few miles are usually done 
on foot, allowing your troops to scout for the enemy along the route of march. For high- 
speed long-range scouting see the Air Cavalry (Reconaissance) troops below. 



24 



Marine Battalions: The Marines prided themselves on their aggressive spirit; they 
brought to Vietnam the same esprit de corps that carried them across the bloody beaches 
of the South Pacific. Therefore, their battalions were heavier (with over 1 000 men) and their 
leaders were steeped in a tradition of closing with the enemy regardless of the costs. 
Unfortunately the name of the game in Vietnam was attrition rather than conquest, so the 
Marines' gung-ho tactics early in the war played into the enemy's hands. Gradually their 
leadership adapted to the new situation, and as a player you must also. 

Marine units are more powerful than air mobile infantry in ground attack, but their 
casualties are just as painful, like the cavalry, the marines are best used to locate and 
(if possible) fix the enemy, then leave the job of killing to the artillery and aircraft 

Mechanized Infantry Battalions: When the US Army went to Vietnam, current 
doctrine regarded mechanized units (tanks and infantry mounted in armored personnel 
carriers) as unstated to tropical conditions and unconventional warfare. However, as the 
war escalated and the Americans gained experience, they found that armored units were 
more useful than originally thought. The fully tracked APCs had excellent cross-country 
mobility, and with added machine-guns and gun-shields became useful shock attack 
vehicles. The battalions were large and contained both many men (nearly 1000) and many 
vehicles (over 100). Although casualties can still hurt, these ground troops are best suited 
for direct assaults on the enemy. 

Armored Battalions: As with the mechanized infantry, the US Army began the war 
with the preconception that tanks would be unsuitable in Southeast Asia. Only a couple 
of armored (tank) units were sent to Vietnam, equipped with the older 90mm-gunned 
M-48 tank. It turned out these could be devastating against unprotected infantry when 
Bring "flechette" munitions (a sort of modern day grapeshot). The vehicles themselves could 
break trails through the jungle, as well as serve as mobile pill-boxes along base camp 
perimeters. Many times the armored battalions were parcelled out in pieces to various Army 
and Marine units, but in the Fishhook operation most of the 2nd battalion of the 34th 
regiment served as a unit. 

Although an armored battalion has powerful tanks, the mechanized battalion had many 
more vehicles in total, and much more supporting infantry. Therefore, armored battalions 
have slightly less combat power. Still, armored battalions are one of the few American 
units suitable for attack in Vietnam. 

Armored Cavalry Squadrons: Originally these battalion-sized units were designed for 
reconaissance. In Vietnam they were used as shock attack troops because the squadron 
included tanks, mechan#ed infantry, and even their own batteries of armored, self-propelled 
1 55mm howitzers. Furthermore their reconnaisance training allowed these units to function 
well with their troops (company-sized subunits) dispersed. This was admirably suited to 
Vietnam combat conditions. 

Air Cavalry (Reconaissance) Troops: Air cavalry troops are equivalent to a company 
in size, and therefore smaller than a battalion. The unit included an aero-scout platoon of 
observation helicopter;, an aero-weapons platoon of helicopter gunships, and an aero-rifle 
platoon of infantry wiu. transport helicopters. The unit was designed to range across the 
countryside looking for signs of enemy activity, occasionally stirring things up by firing into 
likely hiding places and landing infantry to explore possible contacts. Both airmobile 
divisions (1st Cavalry and 1 1 st Airborne) had a squadron with three troops, other divisions 
had one troop each, and additional air cavalry troops were assigned to corps level 
commands. 

You should use these units as intended: to scout ahead of the main body, to soeen the 
flanks, and to form the outermost element in an airmobile envelopment. The air cavalry 

25 



(unlike aiimobile) will move rapidly across the map in deployed or .mobile formation, 
revealing any enemy troops along their path. However, the unit has little combat power 
by itself and can be easily destroyed if caught in a major battle. 

American Units: Support Elements 

Support elements are designed to attack the enemy from long range. Ground support 
units use long-ranged weapons such as artillery. Aircraft support units operate from an 
airbase and Oy helicopters or jets over the target 

105mm Medium Artillery Battalions: The American Army was equipped with 
prodigious amounts of artillery. Usually one artillery battalion worked with each three- 
battalion infantry brigade, with additional battalions added as necessary. The guns were 
designed for towing by trucks, but in Vietnam they were generally carried by helicopters. 
In combat they were emplaced in fire support bases — fortified camps containing anywhere 
from a battery of 6 guns to a full battalion of 1 8, protected by infantry companies detached 
from maneuver battalions. In a typical operation a Grebase formed the center of a patrol area 
whose outer limits were defined by the radius of the artillery's range. Within that circle 
American infantry could search knowing that supporting fire was but a radio call away. 
Furthermore, firebases were set up to be mutually supporting. If one was attacked it could 
get supporting fire from its neighbors. 

As a commander of these units remember that they can move, but only via airmobile 
travel (jumping in mobile formation from one location to another). They can attack enemy 
units up to 8 miles away. You should keep the artillery in deployed formation (ready to 
fire) as much as possible — even in deployed formation they are strong on defense due to 
the integral fortifications and protecting infantry. 

155mm Medium Artillery Battalions: These are the heavier cousins of the 105mm 
artillery. An American army division had three battalions of 105's and one battalion of 
155's. However, additional 155 battalions were available for assignment by Corps HQ. 
Guns designed to be towed were normally helicoptered into position, but a few units had 
their guns mounted on armored, fully tracked vehicles. In either case the artillery deploys 
within a firebase and functions like their lighter 1 05mm cousins, but with a greater range 
( 1 2 miles) and more hitting power. 

Marine Artillery Battalions: These function the same as army artillery battalions, but 
the battalion had three batteries of 105mm howitzers and one battery of six 1 55mm guns. 
Due to the preponderance of the smaller weapons thei r range in the game is S hexes. 

175mm Heavy Artillery Battalions: These extremely long-ranged (28 mites) guns are 
mounted on tracked vehicles. Because of their long reach these units often operated from 
semi-permanent firebases well removed from the main enemy forces. As a result, these 
units cannot move. 

Aerial Artillery Batteries: In addition to using helicopters as observation platforms 
and transports, the US Army equipped some with automatic weapons and rockets to provide 
direct Ere support to their airmobile infantry. Originally the "gunships" were armed versions 
of the UH- 1 "Huey" transport helicopters, but their large size and lack of armor made them 
vulnerable to ground fire. In 1968 the "Huey Cobra" was rushed into action. It was a small, 
lean, fast machine that sported a rninigun, an automatic grenade launcher, and pylons that 
bristled with a variety of rockets. 

As a commander you will find these units especially useful because they can attack 
at night. At night the helicopters did not fly — instead they were complemented by 
"Spooky" an old C-47 transport with cargo doors removed to drop flares and literally hose 
down the landscape with three galling guns firing 1 8,000 rounds per minute. 

26 



Tactical Fighter Squadrons These units fly a variety of fighter-bombers, the best of 
which was the F-4 Phantom. Air wings of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine 
Corps provided close-in low-altitude air support on a scale never before seen in war. The 
Americans had undisputed control of the air over South Vietnam, while the Vietnamese in 
the south rarely had the sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons needed to shoot down jets. The 
only constraints on American airpower were the competing needs of the strategic air 
offensive against the North and the difficulty of fixing the location of enemy ground units 
long enough to pulverize them. 

As a commander youll find that these units contain massive firepower, and can be 
used with minimal risk to American lives. Along with the artillery, these should be the 
backbone of your offensive punches. 

SAC Wings; Very early in the war the US command began using B-52's based on 
Guam and Okinawa in direct support of ground operations. The planes flew too high to 
be seen or heard, and dropped about 27 tons of bombs each. At first the targets were always 
several miles from friendly lines, for fear these awesome loads would fall on friendly troops, 
but gradually this restriction was eased until the B-52's were used within a mile of American 
positions. Because of the large time lags involved in using them, how close they hit to current 
enemy positions was questionable. If they hit, they hit hard, but there is no question that 
thousands of tons of bombs were dropped onto empty forest. 

As a commander you'll find the B-52s are very slow to recover their effectiveness, due 
to the long flight times and complex organizational details of the raids. They can be used 
to full effect only occasionally, or their destructiveness will be quite low. One full-strength 
attack by this awesome weapon can demolish an enemy battalion. 

South Vietnamese Units 

The American-supported South Vietnamese military was nowhere near as effective as 
American troops, especially when powerful American support elements are unavailable. 
The South Vietnamese army was routinely termed "ARVN" (Army of the Republic of 
Viet Nam), the air force "VNAF" (Viet Nam Air Force). 

CTDG (Civilian Irregular Defense Group) Battalions: These units are organized 
and led by the US Special Forces (Green Berets). Most were mercenary light infantry 
recruited from non-Vietnamese Montagnards tribespeople who inhabited the wild uplands 
of the nation. They were primarily stationed in a series of fortified camps along the DMZ 
(northern border) and long western border with Laos and Cambodia. From these bases the 
CIDG monitored and harassed North Vietnamese moving south into Laos and Cambodia, 
as well as troops moving from these sanctuaries into South Vietnam. Primitive and tough, 
the Montagnards were perhaps the best infantry fighting on the "Free World" side (man 
for man), but they were weak in organic heavy weapons and were often last in line for 
air support. 

As a commander youll find these troops usually start offin a static garrison — they were 
almost never under the control of the regular American field command structure. 

ARVN Infantry Battalions: These units were organized and outfitted similarly to 
American units, making them strong in material. However, they were weak in morale and 
leadership, chronically understrength because of desertions, and all too often had officers 
appointed for political reasons. 

As a commander you'll find these units much weaker than American or NVA troops. 
They might hold their own in strong defensive positions with good supporting fire. In most 
situations you'll have American ground troops to use, but in Quang Tri 1972 the weakness 
of ARVN line infantry will cause serious difficulties. 

27 



ARVN Marine Battalions: These units were similar to their American counterparts, 
including being elite units with a strong esprit de corps. As a commander you can count on 
them in key defensive positions or important counter-attacks, 

ARVN Airborne & Ranger Battalions; These are the elite of the South Vietnamese 
army, with the added advantage of helicopter transport for long-distance movement. As a 
commander you'll find that some units are too small to be successful in a stand-up fight 
against fresh , full-strength NVA battalions. 

ARVN Armored & Armored Cavalry Regiments: These units were organized and 
equipped like American armored battalions and armored cavalry squadrons. They form 
the mailed fist of the South Vietnamese Army. Unfortunately, in 1972 the NVA had 
numerous tanks that outclassed the light armored vehicles of the ARVN armored cavalry 
The one ARVN armored (tank) unit present acquitted itself well in the defense of Dong Ha 
— until the rest of the line caved in. 

VN AF Fighter Squadrons: These units are equipped with old propeller driven ground- 
attack craft. They performed credibly, but lacked the numbers, machinery and expertise 
to equal the American Air Force. As a commander you'll find the South Vietnamese fighter 
squadrons useful, but not as destructive as American air strikes. 

Communist Units 

Viet Minn Regiments: The People's Liberation Army of Ho Chi Minh's communist 
revolution began as small guerilla bands. But from the first its leader, Vo Nguyen Giap, 
worked to make it capable of winning conventional battles. Undiscouraged by several 
defeats in open combat, Giap tried once again to take on the French at Dien Bien Phu. He 
deployed two complete infantry divisions and elements of two others around the fortress. 
Each division had three infantry regiments with varying amounts of divisional artillery. 
Each regiment had three or four infantry battalions supported by a company of heavy 
weapons. The units were well-armed with Soviet block weapons and had trained extensively 
at their remote bases. The troops attacked with courage bordering on fanaticism, as well as 
demonstrating a discipline and professional competence that defied French calculations. 

As a commander of these units, you will find them powerful assault units who can 
overrun the French, but suffer serious losses in the process. Casualties can be reduced by 
supporting them with artillery fire. 

Infantry Battalions (Viet Minh, Viet Cong, and North Vietnamese): Information in 
the Western world about Communist small units is still scarce, but what is available indicates 
that the irregular battalions (Viet Minh and Viet Cong) contained about 500 men, while 
regular Viet Minh and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) battalions had about 800. In the 
early stages of the conflict the Communists relied on miscellaneous small arms and what- 
ever support weapons could be found. As fighting continued they received increasing 
amounts of relatively modem Soviet block handguns with a regular complement of machine- 
guns, mortars and recoilless rifles. In fact, the guerilla warfare origins of the Communist 
army tends to obscure an important point in both the French and American wars: the decisive 
combat role was played by units organized, equipped, trained, and led in a regular, conven- 
tional fashion. From 1965 to 1972 the American air and artillery firepower compelled these 
troops to rely on guerilla tactics, but this should not obscure the fact that they constituted 
and remained a formidable foe. These units can attack at a two-mile range instead of the 
normal one in the three American battle games (la Drang, Khe Sanh, and Cambodia). This 
simulates the Communist tactic of spreading the battalion into small patrols and ambush 
teams over a large area. 

28 



As a commander you'll find these troops constitute the backbone of your army. It's up 
to you to decide when and where to use conventional assault-and-defense tactics, versus 
guerilla hit-and-run techniques. When fighting the Americans at la Drang, Khe Sanh and 
in Cambodia be sure to exploit your two-hex attack range. This is often the only way to 
attack without being decimated. 

Tank Companies & Regiments During the siege of Khe Sanh the NVA used a single 
tank company equipped with Russian PT-76 light tanks to help overwhelm the CIDG 
force holding Lang Vei. Otherwise Communist tanks played almost no role in the fighting 
until the Eastern offensive in 1972. Then, much to the surprise of the ARVN troops and 
their American advisors, the NVA launched a blitzkrieg offensive led by numerous 
"regiments" (which were battalion size by western standards) of Russian T-55 medium 
tanks. However, the NVA had little experience with aunor and handled it poorly, particu- 
larly in combined arms operations. 

On the battlefield these units provide a stronger offensive punch than the infantry, but 
they are hardly unstoppable. The offensive punch will lose power quickly if the tank units 
suffer too many counter-attacks. 

Mortar Companies & Battalions: The Communist forces often relied on guerilla 
movement tactics — moving troops off transportation lines to conceal strategic and tactical 
deployments. As a result, the main artillery arm was relatively portable mortars, recoilless 
rifles, rockets, and sometimes light field guns (75mm howitzers). These light artillery pieces 
used the same dispersed movement and attack tactics as the infantry, which is reflected in 
their four mile range. 

As commander you'll find this light artillery has nowhere near the weight of fire of 
medium or heavy guns. They are most valuable in sniping attacks to cause a few casualties 
here and there, or working in conjunction with the infantry in sharp, short attacks. Do not 
expect a mortar bombardment to pulverize the opposition. 

Artillery Battalions & Regiments As befitted an army intent on creating a conven- 
tional war capability, the Communist main force divisions had supporting artillery units 
plus numerous independent artillery units. At Dien Bien Pbu the PLA deployed an entire 
artillery division, while the forces around Khe Sanh included a number of independent 
artillery regiments firing from across the border in Laos. These units contained a variety of 
medium and heavy guns and rocket launchers, the most prominent of which was the 
Soviet-designed WWH-vintage I22mm gun. In 1972 the Communists were able to deploy 
even more artillery, including the new Soviet 1 30mm guns. This was a weapon considerably 
more potent than the standard 105mm howitzer of the ARVN. 

On the battlefield you'll find artillery is an essential aid in any attack against a prepared 
defender. Artillery attacks cause casualties and disruption at rninirnal cost. In 1972 the new 
1 30mm artillery guns give the NVA an 1 8 mile range with awesome destructive power. 




DAY: 3 
CODE WHITE WING 



29 



Supply Units 

There are two types of supply units: 

Supply Bases: This is the origin of all supply for both armies, and are usually found in 
sanctuaries. Supply bases cannot move. If you lose all your bases, your army will no longer 
receive supply. However, in most games armies have supply bases in sanctuaries, and/or 
off the game map entirely (making them invulnerable to attack in either case). Free World 
helicopter-supplied units remain in supply even if all supply bases lost 

Headquarters: These mobile units represent local administration and supply services 
in the Geld. Supplies travel from the base to the headquarters, and from the headquarters to 
other troop units. This allows supply lines to be extended and/or curve around enemy 
troop concentrations. 

TERRAIN & WEATHER 

Terrain Features . 

Each map location (hex) 1 mile wide contains a symbol denoting the dominant terrain 
in that area. Terrain affects movement, combat and supply. A key to terrain symbols is 
included in the center color insert 

Movement Effects: The chart below gives approximate movement speeds, in miles 
per day. These rates only apply for long-distance marching undisturbed by the enemy or 
changes in orders. In normal combat operations communications delays, reorganizing to 
execute new orders, and/or enemy action can significantly delay movement 



Terrain Influence on Movement: 








Terrain: 


Free World Troops . 




. Communist Troops. 




Categories 


FWInf 


USCav 


FWArmdCMInf 


CM Arty 


CMArmd 


Road 


12.2 mi. 


6.0 mi. 


12.2 mi. 


7.6 mi. 


5.4 mi. 


11.2 mi. 


Clear or Village 


6.0 mi. 


4.8 mi. 


8.8 mi. 


7.0 mi. 


3.6 mi. 


8.8 mi 


Town or Fort 


6.0 mi. 


6.0 mi. 


8.8 mi. 


6.0 mi. 


3.6 mi. 


6.0 mi 


River 


3.2 mi. 


1.8 mi. 


2.2 mi. 


6.6 mi. 


3.6 mi. 


5.2 mi 


Lt Forest Paddy 

or Plantation 


3.0 mi. 


1.8 mi. 


2.2 mi. 


6.6 mi. 


1.0 mi. 


5.2 mi 


Jungle, Swamp 
or Mountain 


1.8 ml 


0.8 mi. 


0.8 mi. 


5.4 mi. 


0.6 mi. 


1.2 mi 


Communist Sanctry 


(none) 


(none) 


(none) 


7.6 mi. 


4.6 mi. 


11.0 mi. 



FW Inf = Free World (French, US Marine and ARVN) infantry units. 

US Cav = US Air Cavalry Infantry Battalions 

FW Armd = Free World (French, US and ARVN) armored and mechanized units. 

CM Inf = Communist (Viet Minn, NVA and Viet Cong) infantry units (mortars 90% of infantry speed). 

CM Arty = Communist artillery units (except mortars). 

CM Armd = Communist armored and lank units. 

The chart shows overland movement capability. American cavalry (airmobile infantry) 
battalions move slowly overland because they had almost no organic ground transport, 
and instead relied on helicopters to "jump" from one position to another. Heli-bome move- 
ments can be any distance and rarely take more than a day). 

Free World artillery 155mm and smaller can be helicopter-transported and supplied 
unless otherwise noted. Other Free World artillery and air support bases cannot be moved. 

Communist mortar artillery moves at about 90% of the communist infantry speed. The 
higher communist speeds reflect their ability to move without regard for ambushes and 

30 



snipers, a concern that constantly slowed American troops. 

Combat Effects The chart below gives approximate effects of terrain on offensive 
(attacking) and defensive fighting power. It applies to troops stationed ON that terrain 
Remember that terrain is only one aspect of combat power. Formation also has a powerful 
influence, not to mention supply, supporting attacks also ordered against that unit, and 
just plain luck. 

Infantry fighting power represents the number of men in the unit, as indicated on the 
unit status. Support equipment represents the number of other weapons in the unit, such 
as mortars, artillery pieces, tanks, helicopter gunships and/or aircraft 



Terrain Influence in 

Terrain; 
Categories 


Combat: 

Attack 


Defense 


Support Equipment 

Attack Defense 


Road 

Clear or Village 

Town or Fort 

River 

Ll Forest, Paddy or Plantation 

Jungle, Swamp or Mountain 


75* 
75% 
100% 
100% 
100% 
100% 


100% 
100% 
200% 
200% 
150% 
200% 


125% 
125% 
100% 
100% 
100% 
75% 


100% 

100% 
150% 
75% 
75% 
50% 



Night & Weather 

Night: Movement and combat potential for French, American and ARVN units are 
reduced at night 

Weather Possible weather conditions vary from Clear (the best possible weather) to 
Cloudy to Rain and finally Monsoon (the worst weather). 

Good weather speeds movement and makes attacking easier. Poor weather slows 
movement and favors the defender. French, American and ARVN units are especially 
affected by weather. Tactical fighter and helicopter gunship units cannot Qy in rain or 
monsoon weather. The sole exception is the Khe Sanh game, where aircraft can Oy due to 
the extensive use of electronic sensors and navigation aids by the Americans in that battle. 

EXPERIENCE, EFFECTIVENESS 
& FORMATIONS 

Experience 

The training and battle experience of a unit is very important. A unit's experience rating 
can improve during the course of the battle (but usually not more than one level). There are 
five experience levels: 

Raw units have no combat training and no experience. You shouldn't expect raw 
units to accomplish much at all on the battlefield. 

Green units have training but no experience. They will perform adequately under 
normal conditions, but cannot be expected to hold up under heavy pressure. 

Veteran units have training and combat experience. They will perform well in all 
situations. 

Crack units have aU the abilities of veterans, but with additional experience and 
leadership that is highly motivated and highly skilled. The unit performs exceptionally 
at normal tasks, and hold up well in lough situations. 

EBte units have specialized training, plenty of combat experience, and a high esprit 
de corps. These men are the best of the best. They will perform far beyond their numerical 
strength. 

31 



Effectiveness . . . , ., 

A unit's effectiveness rating shows how casualties and exhaustion have reduced its 
ability to cany out orders. Men, machines and organizations aU lose effectiveness in combat 
or on long marches. They need periods of relative inactivity to rest, repau and reorganize. 
Units not in battle recover taster than units in battle. Badly exhausted units take a dispro- 
portionately long time to recover, while only slightly tired units recover fairly qmckly. 
Therefore it's unwise (and risky) to drive your troops to the brink of collapse before you 

give them a rest 

Effectiveness is rated by percentages. Below is a general guide to what percentages mean, 
and what type of performance you can expect 

100%: The unit is at its prime. Successful attacks usually require at least some of the 
troops to be at this level. 

90%- The unit is slightly exhausted, but is still in good shape. Unless the enemy is 
especially weak or you are especially desperate, this is the lowest effectiveness for good 

attack performance. . 

70-80%: The unit is exhausted It moves slower, attacks take longer while suffering 
more and inflicting fewer casualties. On the defense the unit cannot hold as long. A short 
stay in a quiet area to restore effectiveness is suggested. 

50-60%- The unit is badly exhausted. It will not move, attack or defend at anywhere 
near full strength. Any strong and sustained attack may cause the unit's destruction or 
surrender. It should be withdrawn to regain effectiveness if at all possible. 

40%: The unit is nearing collapse, it offers utile resistance in combat can hardly move, 
and is easily overrun. Withdraw it immediately. 

30%: The unit may disintegrate on its own, and almost any serious attack will overrun it 

Formation Types 

There are six formations a unit may assume, depending on its orders. 

Mobile formation represents troops mounted in vehicles (including helicopters where 
appropriate) and organized for rapid movement. This is a very bad formation for fighting. 
Infantrymen are especially vulnerable. 

Deployed formation represents troops moving into the attack. This is the only forma- 
tion where reasonable mobility is combined with good combat power. As a commander 
you may wish to deliberately give orders to "attack" vacant or suspected positions if you 
fear ambush - the troops will move slower and become exhausted faster, but can defend 
themselves better and be ready to counterattack without a time-consuming formation 

change. , 

Defense formation represents troops prepared to resist attack. They can move, but 

very cautiously and slowly. No attacks are possible in this formation. 

Entrenched and Fortified are stronger levels of defense. No movement is possible, 

but defensive power is increased. Note that these formations take considerable time to achieve 

(especially "fortified"), but either can be abandoned quickly. 




DAY: 4 
CODE SILVER BAYONET 



Garrison troops are fortified and immobile, with the additional restriction that they 
cannot move until freed from a higher headquarters (i.e., you are not their commander, 
and therefore they ignore your orders). In some situations garrison troops are put under 
your command as the battle develops. 

Formation Effects 

Changing Formations: When you issue orders a unit first changes to the proper 
formation, then executes the order. A lengthy formation change can seriously delay the 
implementation of your orders. Although formation change times can vary considerably 
depending on circumstances, average periods are given below as a general guideline: 



Formation Change Timing: 










Changing 


Changing 
Mobile 


to 












Deployed 


Defense 


Entrench 


Fortified 


Garrison 


Mobile 


-- 


Ban 


16hrs 


48hrs 


8 days 


prohibited 


Deployed 


8hrs 


-- 


8hrs 


40hrs 


7+ days 


prohibited 


Defense 


16hrs 


Shn 


-- 


32hrs 


7 days 


prohibited 


Entrenched 


16hrs 


8hrs 


Ihr 


-- 


5+ days 


prohibited 


Fortified 


16hrs 


8 his 


lhr 


lhr 


-- 


prohibited 


Garrison 


16hrs 


gars 


lhr 


lhr 


lhr 


prohibited 



Units in garrison formation automatically remain in that formation until freed by higher 
authority (if ever). It is impossible to change into garrison formation (and thus immobilize 
one of your own units). 

Formations & Movement: Movement rales are based on troops in mobile formation 
(i.e., moving formation). Movement in deployed formation overland is half (50%) the 
normal rate. Movement in defense formation overland is one eighth (12.5%) the normal 
rate. Troops in entrenched, fortified or garrison formations cannot move at all. 

Formations & Combat: Formations affect a unit's fighting strength when it is attacked. 
To attack the enemy the unit must always be in deployed formation. However, a unit can 
be in any formation if attacked, and its fighting power can vary considerably depending 
on its formation: 



Formation effects when a unit is 


attacked: 




Formation: 


Infantry: 




Support Equipment: 


Mobile 


12% 




25% 


Deployed 


50* 




75% 


Defense 


100% 




100% 


Entrenched 


150% 




150% 


Fortified or Garrison 


200% 




200% 



GIVING & 
EXECUTING ORDERS 

Intelligence 

You must be able to see the enemy before you can attack hurt. The communist 
commander will generally be able to see Free World forces at all times. The Free World 
commander will generally be able to see only those communist units that are directly 
adjacent to his own troops. 

33 



Selecting Orders 

Move orders are the fastest way to move troops from point "x" to point "y" Further- 
more, it's the only way US infantry and artillery battalions can use helicopter lift to "jump" 
from one point to another. The great disadvantage is that units are extremely vulnerable to 
attack. Therefore as a general you must "factor in" to your calculations the 8 hours or longer 
units need to shift into mobile formation before the move, followed by another 8+ hours 
to shift to more battleworthy formations afterward. A unit moves slower when moving out 
of a hex adjacent to an enemy unit. 

Attack orders are useful general-purpose orders not only to attack enemy positions, but 
also to make short tactical movements where threat of attack or ambush is high. If the enemy 
is appearing and disappearing frequently, it may be unwise to give your troops specific 
attack targets. Instead, leave the target for attack to the commander's discretion (i.e., put 
the unit under "local command"). 

Supporting units (artillery, aircraft, etc.) bombarding distant targets must use "attack" 
orders. For example, to have artillery bombard an enemy five miles away, you issue the 
artflkry orders to attack that target The artillery automatically remains stationary, shifts 
to deployed formation (if not already in it) and opens fire as soon as possible. 

Defend orders have varied uses also. All other things being equal, the defender has an 
advantage over the attacker. Therefore it is better to be defending than attacking in a battle. 

As a communist commander, if your enemy frequently moves in deployed formation 
(using "attack" orders) you may want to place defensive ambushes in his path. However, 
this can be dangerous if your defensive troops are caught by artillery and air attack before 
they escape. If the enemy often uses mobile formation you'll need to attack him on the move 
to exploit his weakness. 

As a Free World commander, especially as an American, youll often find yourself 
putting maneuver elements into defense formation as soon as they contact the enemy, 
while calling in supporting weapons to make the attack. 

Reserve orders can be used to put troops into a defensive formation, but avoid having 
them "dig in". Unlike defense orders, reserve units do not automatically improve defense 
formation to entrenched and fortified formations. 

Objectives can be any distance away. Each unit will select its own movement path to 
this objective, avoiding difficult terrain and moving around any blocking units. You'll find 
that over long distances there is a greater likelihood the unit will choose a route that is initially 
attractive, but ultimately requires it to move inefficiently through difficult terrain. In other 
words, unit commanders tend lo be "short sighted" in selecting movement routes. Therefore, 
as a commanding general with a wider perspective, it's your job to plan a few intermediate 
objectives that guide the unit commander. 

In fluid battle situations where the enemy is appearing, disappearing, and moving 
rapidly it's often better to give unit commanders "their head" (allow them to attack and 
defend under local command). Sometimes they make mistakes, but they can react faster 
to the changing situation and thus can exploit sudden appearances and opportunities before 
new orders from you reach them. Expect your unit commanders lo be creative and aggres- 
sive. Don't expect them to retreat or avoid the enemy until after they've bloodied their nose 
(and even then their retreats are usually very small). 

Combat 

Combat Planning: When a unit is ordered to attack an objective, it attacks any enemy 
in that position. If a unit is attacking without an objective, it selects a nearby enemy and 
moves to attack them. 

34 



When a unit attacks an objective it will move to occupy that location as its first priority. 
It will do this even if enemy defenders move elsewhere. Once the objective is occupied the 
unit reverts to attack orders without an objective, and may leave its location to attack a 
nearby enemy. 

Combat Coordination: If two or more units attack the same enemy they automatically 
coordinate and support each other if the attacks occur within an 8-hour period. As the 
general commanding, you'll see each unit reporting its attack separately, but in reality the 
multiple attacks are mutually supporting and produce an effect greater than the sum of the 
individual units. 

Combat Results In most battles casualties are not large. Losses of 5% in one exchange 
are moderate, 10% is significant, and over 10% is very large indeed. Unless the enemy 
surrenders or is overran it's nearly impossible to wipe out a unit. 

If the attackers are substantially stronger than their targets, the targets may retreat after 
battle. Units unable to retreat due to blocking friends and/or enemies suffer greater casualties. 
If the defender does retreat (or is eliminated) the attackers may immediately occupy the 
defender's ground. In harder fought battles the attacker may take a while to occupy the 
ground, or may never do so. 

If attackers encounter very serious opposition, or bombardment attacks appear to have 
no effect, the attacking unit may report the enemy is too strong and cease attacking. If you 
want the unit to attack again anyway, you'll ha ve to reissue attack orders. 

LOGISTICS 

Supply 

Consumption: Units consume one day's worth of supply for routine maintenance and 
operations. In addition, every 6 miles moved consumes another day's worth of supplies. 
Each attack during the day consumes about 65% of a day's supply while defending against 
each attack consumes about 30% of a day's supply. All this supply consumption is 
cumulative. Therefore, a unit that moves far, attacks frequently, and is attacked frequently 
can consume many days' worth of supply each day! 

Lines of Communication: Units that rely on ground resupply trace lines of communi- 
cation to a supply base if one is close enough, or a headquarters if a base is too far away or 
the route is blocked. lines of communication are traced directly, with no turns to avoid the 
enemy. As a result, an enemy near or on the line can interrupt supply periodically. 

Free World units were often served by helicopters for supply. This includes all units 
with helicopters for movement, as well as a few special unit garrisons with helicopter fields 
built specifically for resupply. In all these cases no line of communication is necessary. These 
units always get supplies every day. 

UnsuppBed: When a unit cannot trace a line of communication and has no supply of 
its own, it becomes unsupplied. Units in this situation always send you a message reporting 
their plight. Unsupplied units move at roughly half speed, have only 50% power if attacked, 
and cannot attack themselves (they II try to adopt deployed formation, but won't carry 
through the actual attack). 

Army Supply Resources: The overall amount of supply and resupply available to an 
army is listed in the Battle Briefings. The amount will either be "Ample" (each unit receives 
several day's supply when resupplied), "Sufficient" (each unit receives about one day's 
supply when resupplied), or "Critical" (each unit receives less than one day's supply). 

If your army starts in a critical supply state, units will run out of supplies immediately. 
If resupply is also in a critical state, you will need to husband your supplies by restricting your 
army's activities (keeping movement to a minimum and making few, if any, attacks). 

35 



Replacements & Reinforcements 

Replacements are available to each and every unit automatically. Units out of contact 
with the enemy receive more replacements, fester, than units in combat The number of 
replacements that arrive per unit is listed in the Battle Briefings for each game. 

Reinforcements appear at a specific location at a specific time (see the Battle Briefings 
for that game and variant). If friendly or enemy units occupy the arrival location the unit will 
not appear until space is available. In many cases there is only a probability of a unit arriving 
on time. If a unit does not arrive on time it may appear shortly thereafter. 

VICTORY 

Each battle has its own victory conditions. The objectives to each side are given in the 
Battle Briefings for each variant 

Victory calculations and comparisons are always based on historical objectives and 
considerations. They are not "fudged" to produce a balanced game. As a result, some 
situations may be fairly easy to win, while others are quite difficult 

As a general rule, inflicting casualties is the most important consideration in the game. 
Each man and piece of equipment "lost" gives the opposition a certain number of points. 
These points are factored in with terrain objectives to determine relative advantage during 
the battle as well as victory afterward. The difficulty of a particular battle and variant is also 
factored into the calculations. 

A few terrain locations are "critical objectives" in the game. Capturing these may give 
a side automatic and immediate victory, regardless of casualty levels. Although such 
victories are rare and difficult to achieve, don't forget that it just might occur! 







DAY; 5 
CODE PEGASUS 



36 









IV 
BATTLE BRIEFINGS 




OVERVIEW 

Hie Games 

Conflict In Vietnam contains five games simulating five of the decisive battles of the 
Vietnam war. Each of these games includes several variants. The first variant is always the 
historical situation, and the others present either different lengths of play or historical 
"what-iT situations. 

Prelude: Dien Bien Phu, 1954, the Erst game, recreates the final battle of the French 
colonial war. The historical situation is specially designed to serve as an introductory game, 
and the other variant presents a hypothetical situation in which American heavy bombers 
support an attack by French troops to relieve the fortress. 

Into The Valley: la Drang, 1965, presents the first swirling victory by the American 
airmobile First Cavalry Division, which defeated a division-sized North Vietnamese force 
attempting to drive across the Central Highlands to the sea. It has short and long historical 
variants and a series of hypothetical situations that allow you to experiment with different 
force mixes of airmobile infantry, armored cavalry, and jungle-trained light infantry. 

The Tide Turns: Khe Sanh, 1968, recreates the climactic battle in the northernmost 
province of south Vietnam, the battle which ended American escalation and began the 
long process of disengagement. It includes an historical variant and a series of alternate 
Communist deployments that can be randomly selected in order to recreate the uncertainty 
faced by the American commander. 

Empty Fishhook: Cambodia, 1970, stimulates the American and South Vietnamese 
attack on the Communist sanctuaries to capture COSVN, the North Vietnamese head- 
quarters. As in The Tide Turns, the variants in this game present alternative Communist 
deployments, so the American commander must, like his historical counterpart, plunge 
into the unknown. 

First Cracks Quang Tri, 1972, the last game, reproduces the North Vietnamese 
blitzkrieg across the Demilitarized Zone that shattered a South Vietnamese division and 
shook the country to its core. This game includes a short historical variant recreating the 
initial onslaught and a long one carrying the battle through the collapse of the South 
Vietnamese outside Quang Tri City. 



The Battle Briefings 

Tnese Battle Briefings contain information pertaining to each of the games. Some of this 
information is vital to play of the game; some is included to enrich the experience of play. 

Each game is introduced by an historical background section and a short narrative of the 
battle, to help you understand why the battle was fought and how the actual commanders 
handled it Following this material is the "Guide to the Game," which presents specific 
information necessary to play each of the variants. 

The Battle Briefings are designed to be used in whatever way you feel most comfortable. 
If you want to just pick a variant that interests you and play it, simply find the appropriate 
section, look up your objectives and initial situation, and boot up the game. If you want to 
focus on a particular battle, read the background material and play each variant in the order 
laid out in the "Guide to the Game." And if you want to experience the history of the war as 
a whole, begin with the first game, reading the background material and playing the variants 
as presented, and then move on to each of the following games in the order below, just like 
reading the chapters of a book. 

3R 



Order of Play for Games ami Variants 

To follow CONFLICT IN VIETNAM from beginning to end, the order of games and 
variants below is recommended for solo play. This gives you a full historical appreciation 
of actual events and alternative possibilities — an interactive military history of the war. 
Read the text accompanying each game and variant to maximize your enjoyment and 
understanding. 

Game variants with two asterisks (**) are especially valuable to an understanding of 
the war, and are highly recommended. One asterisk (*) represents an interesting and 
potentially valuable historical lesson. Aside from which side is you the player (and which is 
controlled by the computer) all other game options are your preference, see page 9 for 
detailed information on the game options. 

DienBienPhu(Garnel): 

** Variant 1 : Free World Player, Communist Computer, 

Variant 1 : Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

(Recommended primarily to beginners as a continuation of the tutorial.) 

* Variant 2: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 
Variant 2: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

la Drang (Game 2): 

** Variant 1 : Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

Variant I: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 

** Variant 2: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 

* Variant 2: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

* Variants 3-5: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 
Variants 3-5: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

KheSanh(Game3): 

** Variant 1 : Free World Player, Communist Computer. 

* Variant 2: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 
Variants 2-4: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 

Variants 2-4: Free World Computer, Communist Player (playing one of the 
variants is sufficient for historical understanding). 

* Variant 5: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 
Variant 5: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

Cambodia (Game 4): 

** Variant 1 : Free World Player, Comm unist Computer. 

Variant 2: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

Variants 2-7: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 

* Variants 2-7: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

* Variant 8: Free World Player, Communist Computer. 
Variant 8: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

QuangTri(Game5): 

* Variant 1 : Free World Player. Communist Computer. 
Variant 1 : Free World Computer, Communist Player. 

* Variant 2: Free World Computer, Communist Player. 
** Variant 2: Free World Player, Comm unist Computer. 

"Game variant is especially valuable to an understanding of the war. 
•Game variant is an interesting and potentially valuable historical lesson. 

39 



GAMEONE 
PRELUDE: DIEN BEEN PHU, 1954 

Historical Background 

When the Gist American military advisors went to Vietnam in 1 955, few realized that they 
were merely the latest in a long line of foreigners who sought to dominate that region of the 
globe. Since ancient times the Chinese have repeatedly tried to conquer it; in the nineteenth 
century the French took it as a colony; in the 1940's the Japanese seized upon the French 
defeat in Europe to establish their own supremacy. Their defeat in 1945 created a vacuum, 
and tiie resultant turmoil has sal not come to an end. 

French Rule 

The French, who ended up on the winning side of World War D", sought to re-establish 
their rule after 1945. However, even before the war Vietnamese nationalists had opposed 
them, and their numbers and power grew during the Japanese occupation. In particular, 
the Vietnamese Communist party emerged as a militant and unyielding opponent of colonial 
rule. Under the overall leadership of the wily and charismatic Ho Chi Minn, the party, 
known as the Viet Minh, fielded a growing guerrilla army commanded by Vo Nguyen Giap. 
After 1945, the French and Viet Minh made a pretense of coexistence at first, but because 
their goals were fundamentally irreconcilable their relations deteriorated rapidly. The French 
steadily strengthened their garrisons in the principal towns and cities while the Viet Minh 
expanded their influence in the countryside. 

In 1946 skirmishes broke out across the country, for the most part hit-and-run attacks 
by the Viet Minh against French outposts. Whenever the two sides fought a real battle the 
French out-gunned the guerrillas and easily destroyed them. The problem was, the Viet 

Minh usually managed to slip away. 
Since the French did not have 
enough men to defend everywhere, 
they gradually lost control of the 
countryside. Supply problems com- 
pounded their difficulties, for their 
army was half-way around the 
world from its base, and the French 
people begrudged the money needed 
to restore this peripheral possession. 
By 1953 French control was limited 
to the Red River delta and scattered 
cities to the south. 

The Opposing Strategies for 
1954 

The French were well aware 
that their situation was deteriorating. 
They were particularly concerned 
by a widening of the war that began 
in early 1953, when three Viet Minh 
divisions staged a Large scale raid into 



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40 



Laos, which was also a French colony. However, tbe French command also saw in this 
development an opportunity. For the Viet Minh to operate outside Vietnam, they would 
have to depend on a long overland supply line. If the French could create a fortified outpost 
interdicting this route they could either disrupt enemy communication through aggressive 
patrolling or, if the base was besieged, force a fight in which their superiority in conventional 
warfare could give them a telling victory. With peace talks in the offing, such a victory could 
be crucial in determining the settlement Therefore, despite the risks of creating a base totally 
dependent on air transport for re-supply deep in enemy controlled country, in November 
1953 a French force parachuted into the valley of Dien Bien Phu, which lay athwart the 
most direct route between northern Vietnam and Laos. 

As Giap watched the French fortify their new base, he too saw an opportunity to score 
a decisive victory on the eve of the peace talks. He began by staging a series of attacks 
scattered across the country, to confuse the French and tie down their reserves. Meanwhile, 
he began a gradual build-up of troops in the hills around Dien Bien Phu. Moreover, he 
organized thousands of porters to carry disassembled heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns 
through the jungle to positions overlooking the valley, a feat the French had considered 
impossible. The Viet Minh thus sealed the garrison into its fortified valley, and threatened 
to overrun it if it attempted to evacuate. 

Giap had only to wait until his forces possessed an overwhelming superiority in men 
and guns to put into effect the last element of his strategy, to "WIPE OUT AT ALL COSTS 
THE WHOLE ENEMY FORCE AT DIEN BIEN PHU." 

TheBattle 

The French defenders occupied eight major forts, each named for one of the commanders' 
supposed girlfriends. Five of the forts clustered in the heart of the valley around the airfield. 
Two occupied nearby hills to the north, while the last, Isabelle, lay in the valley to the south. 
Together, they contained about 12 battalions of infantry, almost 30 medium howitzers, 
and 10 tanks. Six fighter-bombers were based at the airstrip, and dozens more flew from 
airfields near Hanoi and an aircraft carrier off the coast. While hardly sanguine, the French 
faced the coming ordeal with grim confidence. 

Despite his desire to deal the decisive blow, Giap waited patiently before striking. By 
mid-March he had concentrated elements of four infantry divisions totaling almost 30 
battalions and an entire artillery division with over 1 00 mortars, field guns, and anti-aircraft 
weapons. Then, on March 13, he unleashed a thunderous barrage, and followed it up with 
.massive human wave attacks that overwhelmed the two hilltop positions, giving the Viet 
Minh artillery complete command of the valley. The infantry began to construct trenches 
encircling the fortress for the next two weeks, as the artillery pounded the defenders and, 
most vitally, closed the airstrip. 

On March 30 Giap resumed the infantry attack, hoping to deal the final blow. However, 
while his troops made some headway, they lost horrendous numbers of tbe army's finest 
troops. Consequently, Giap changed tactics, totally abandoning human-wave assaults in 
favor of a classic siege. While the artillery battered the defenders and anti-aircraft guns kept 
the post isolated from all but parachuted re-supply, the network of trenches gradually closed 
in on the fortress. Having failed to bludgeon it to death, Giap now resolved to strangle it 

While Dien Bien Phu was under siege, the French reinforced it with several battalions of 
paratroopers, and they also set in motion an operation to relieve it from the outside. Code 
named Condor, this opeiatinn involved several units already operating in Laos and several 
more that were to be paradropped at a rendezvous point. After linking up, the force was 
to move north through the mountains and draw off or drive off the besiegers. 

41 



Plausible in theory, the plan ran into severe problems in practice. Air transport was 
already overstrained supplying Dien Ken Phu, and few reserves of troops were available. 
A limited operation was put into motion, but it was too Utile too late, and everyone 
co rcemed was lucky that the main body was never committed 

As the French realized the hopelessness of their situation, they turned to their major 
benefactor, the United States. America already footed 80% of die bill for the war in the name 
of anti -communism, and so the French had good reason to believe they would come to their 
rescue. The French requested a massive strike by American B-29s, the heavy bombers that 
had done-in Japan, arguing that a saturation strike would shatter the dug-in Viet Minh and 
turn into a potential catastrophe into a decisive victory. American airpower enthusiasts and 
China lobbiests endorsed the idea, code named Operation Vulture, and the Air Force sent a 
special envoy to study the possibility. Nixon, who was Vice-President at the time, reported 
that there was even talk of using a few small atom bombs. 

President Eisenhower balked, however, partly because he had just been elected to bring 
the long, bloody war in Korea loan end, and partly because he could not find a consensus 
in fa vor of intervention. Britain, our closest ally, opposed it, and closer to home, the leaders 
of Congress resisted. Senator John Kennedy spoke out against the plan, and Lyndon 
Johnson, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, opposed it strenuously. Most 
important of alL even the Joint Chiefs of Staff were divided over it. The Chairman, an 
admiral, and the Air Force Chief favored the strike, but General Matthew Ridgeway, the 
Army Chief, who was just back from commanding the US forces in Korea, dissented, 
arguing that even if an aiistrike succeeded in breaking the siege, at least seven American 
divisions would be needed to continue the war, twelve if the Chinese intervened. Faced with 
a commitment of such magnitude to a cause so uncertain, Eisenhower rejected the proposal 
and left the Dien Bien Phu to its fate. 

With no help on the horizon, the onset of the monsoon rains in April completed the 
garrison's isolation. On the evening of May 1 the Viet Minh began their final assault The 
French fought with desperate courage, but the Communists displayed equal determination, 
and their weight of numbers made the struggle a matter of time. They advanced from the 
East, South, and West, and gradually seized one fort after another. The French command 
in Hanoi authorized a break-out, but by that time the defenders were too weak to make the 
attempt The main garrison's last stronghold succumbed on May 6, and Isabellas defenders 
surrendered the next day. 

A handful of men escaped in the confusion and made their way to friendly forces, but 
the French lost over 16,000 troops in the debacle. They had inflicted over 20,000 casualties 
on the enemy, but the defeat proved decisive. Smitten on the field of battle, the French people 
lost all heart for the war, and her diplomats lost all bargaining power. The war and the talks 
dragged on until late July, but in the end the French agreed to Communist control of the 
northern half of Vietnam and to national elections that almost surely would unify the 
country under the victorious Ho Chi Minh. Laos and Cambodia gained complete 
independence and the French army withdrew from the region. French rule in Indo-China 
was history. 




DAY: 6 
CODE MUSCATINE 



42 



Guide To The Game 

Prelude: Dien Bien Phu, 1954 recreates the final stages of this epic siege. It begins with the 
final assault by the Viet Minh, and ends on the day the last fort fell. The first Variant, The End 
of Empire, presents the historical situation in all its hopelessness. It is virtually impossible to 
win as the French, so the game's function is to serve as a simple introduction to the mechanics 
of play . The second Variant, Vulture: A merica Intervenes simulates a hypothetical attack by 
American B-29 heavy bombers and French paratroopers attempting to relieve the besieged 
garrison. This Variant presents a more balanced and challenging situation. 

It is suggested that you start by playing the French in Variant One, and then, especially 
if you are a novice player, the Viet Minh. Once you have mastered the mechanics of play, 
you can move on to command the French in Variant Two, and last the Viet Minh. 

VARIANT ONE 

The End of Empire 

Introduction 

The End of Empire presents the final assault on Dien Bien Phu as it actually happened. 
Isolated, outnumbered, outgunned, and all but out of supplies, the French stand no chance of 
defeating the onslaught, or even of holding it up for any significant amount of time. The game 
is included to both illustrate the desperate straits in which the French found themselves and to 
give players a chance to familiarize themselves with the game system. Veteran wargamers 
will find it an interesting and mercifully brief diversion; novice players should read along in 
the tutorials below while playing their first games, 



The French 

The French Objective 

Your objective is to hold out as long as possible with all that you have. It is unlikely that 
you will be able to hold out until the end of the game, but you may be able to. Good luck! 

Victory Conditions: The French win if they can keep the Viet Minh from gaining 1 50 
Victory Points. They can win automatically if they capture the three forts that have already 
fallen. They also win if they can capture the moon. 

- 
French Scenario Data 

Start 3pm, May 1,1954 

End: 6pm, May 7, 1954 

Initial Supply: Critical 

Resupply Rate; Critical 

Off-map Supply: For air only 

Replacement Rate; 25 men per unit per week 

Reinforcements: None 

Special Rules: None 

Tutorial 1: Commanding the French 

To begin, boot the disk and select Game 1, variant 1 with the default options. As the 
program finishes loading, press "Flo freeze play, so you can get oriented before continuing. 

The first thing to do is just look at the screen. The bottom three quarters contain a map 
of the area around Dien Bien Phu showing the prominent terrain features: mountains, 
jungle, roads, and so on, with the opposing units deployed in their opening positions. The 

43 



terrain and units are discussed in the "The Art of Command in Vietnam" and summarized i n 

the Unit and Terrain Tables on the centerfold area. 

Hit "T" to remove the units from the map and take a moment to familiarize yourself 

with the different types of terrain. Note the pattern of terrain as well as the individual features. 

In particular, note that the French forts are indeed clustered in the open valley, surrounded 

by forested hills. 

Now use the joystick or cursor keys to move the blinking grey cursor around the map. 

Move the cursor over one of the forts and press "C". This will bring up its. name and victory 

point value on the text display, the grey strips across the top quarter of the screen. You can 

also get this information from the Battle map. 

Move the cursor up against the top edge of the map and keep pressing, as if you want 

to move it off. The screen will scroll up, first revealing more of the battlefield, and then a 

wide blue strip beyond. This is the French sanctuary, where their aircraft are based out of 

range of the Viet Minh artillery. 

Press "T" and you will see two planes appear. These represent the two squadrons of 

fighter-bombers available for ground support missions, Move the cursor over one and press 

the joystick button or space bar. A unit status report will appear in the text display. In 

addition to identifying the squadron the report contains information about its strength and 
activities. These are explained in the "How to Play" section. Take a moment to look this 
section over, so that you know what each element means. 

After you familiarize yourself with the various elements of the status report, it is time to 
give your aircraft some orders. If you are using a joystick, press the trigger a second time and 
the text display will change to the command menu. Push the joystick up so that the high- 
light moves from RESERVE to ATTACK. Push the trigger again and the text display will 
say ATTACKING. If you are using the keyboard, simply press "A" instead of the trigger 
and you will get the same message. 

Now move the cursor down until it is over a Viet Minh unit (one of the red ones). If you 
are using the joystick, press the trigger; if you are using the keyboard, press the space bar. 
You will see in the text display either NO INFORMATION or an abbreviated unit status 
report, depending on what your intelligence services know about the unit. Check out several 
units until you decide on which one you want your air unit to attack. Press the joystick 
trigger once more or the "H" key and the text display will tell you WHO has just been given 
the objective and how far away it is (with an Apple joystick, press the SECOND fire button 
to designate the target). Now move the cursor back up to the other air unit and repeat this 
procedure to assign it a target. 

After you finish telling the aircraft what to do, use the cursor to center the screen on 
Dien Bien Phu. Move it over each of your infantry units and check its status. Practice issuing 
orders by pressing "D" (Defend) or using the joystick and menu and then "H" (Here) to 
assign its present location as its objective. Even though there is nowhere else for these units 
to defend, it is a good idea to get in the habit of giving defending units their current position 
as their objective. Otherwise, in a more open situation you may find that a hole suddenly 
opens in your line because a unit left to defend under local command has decided to 
redeploy to what it thinks is a better position! 

Now move the cursor over the Claudine garrison and call up its status. Note that it has 
artillery. Press the joystick button again and set the highlight on the menu to "ATTACK" 
or press "A" on the keyboard. Move the cursor over Viet Minh units and check their 
strengths until you find one that you want to attack. Press the joystick button or "H" again. 

Now that you have issued your orders, you are ready to begin play. Hit "F" to un-freeze 
the game, and sit back to watch the carnage. Note that the strip at the bottom of the text 

44 



KEY 

U FORT 

•^ VILLAGE 
**- ROAD 

W* RIVER 

(#) VICTORY POINTS 

CRITICAL OBJECTIVES IN BOLD 



DIEN 

BIEN PHU 

1954 



♦VARIANT II ONLY 



1 

1 



FRENCH SANCTUARY 



! ' ".*■ .'./• ' ' 



,. ..- ... 







45 



display will now tell you the time, date and the weather conditions, and that the text display 
will begin sending you messages. As play proceeds, use the cursor to access various units, 
noting the relative strengths of the two sides. You may have several more opportunities to 
strike with your aircraft and artillery, although the weather may interfere with the first and 
Viet Minn attacks may suppress the second. Try to follow the decline in effectiveness of your 
units as they suffer attacks and run out of supply. 

When the game ends, examine the game status report in the text display to see how the 
situation was at the end. When you are finished looking that over press "7* and then 
RETURN to go to the awards ceremony. You will see that your performance is not rated 
very highly, but you can console yourself that the men who were really in command were 
some of France's best and brightest officers. If they couldn't pull it off, you shouldn't feel bad 
if you couldn't either. 

The Viet Minh 

The Viet Minh Objective 

As commander of the People's Liberation Army surrounding the French fortress, you 
will lead the final assault You should try to win as quickly as possible in order to maximize 
the enemy's demoralization on the eve of the Geneva talks. 

Victory Conditions: You must gain at least 150 Victory Points in order to achieve 
victory. If you capture all five of the enemy strongholds, you will win an automatic decisive 
victory, your real goal. 

Viet Minh Scenario Data 

Start 3 pm, May 1,1954 

End: 6pm, May 7, 1954 

Initial Supply. Ample 

Resuppty Rate: Sufficient 

Off-map Supply: Northeast and Northwest 

Replacement Rate: 50 men per unit per week 

Reinforcements: None 

Special Rules: None 

Tutorial 2: Commanding The Viet Minh 

As Viet Minh commander, you will find that you have many more decisions to make, 
although almost any you make save craven retreat should bring you victory. Nevertheless, 
playing the Viet Minh will give you more experience with the mechanics of the game, 
and introduce you to some of the tactical decisions that field commanders must make. 

When the disk boots up, select Game 1, variant 1 with the default options except, 
of course, that this time the Computer should play the French and you should take the Viet 
Minh. Once again, once the game has finished loading, press "F" to freeze play while you 
have a look around. 

Use the joystick or keyboard to move the cursor over your units. Note that while most 
of them have attack orders, they do not have objectives. You should look at the deployments 
of your own and the enemy's units and decide where you want to open the attack. The best 
place is probably against Huguette, in the upper left of the French position, because you 
have four infantry units adjacent to it and two mortar regiments within range. Put the cursor 
over one of the infantry units and press "A" or use the joystick button to access the menu and 
move the highlight to ATTACK. Then move the cursor onto Huguette and press "H" or 
press the joystick button twice. Repeat this for each of the other infantry adjacent to the 
target 

46 



Having set up your infantry attacks, it is time to assign your artillery support Move the 
cursor over one of the mortar units within two cursor moves (hexes) of Huguette and order 
it to attack. Move the cursor back to the French piece and assign it as the objective. Repeat 
this with the other mortar. 

Now you should decide how to allocate your long-range artillery support All four of 
your artillery regiments can reach Huguette, but you should probably use at least one to 
bombard the French base unit Claudtne, because if you can force it onto the defensive, 
you will suppress its artillery fire. On the other hand, you should probably direct the fires 
of at least two of your big guns on your primary objective. You should decide exactly how 
to use them, and issue them the appropriate orders, or you could even leave one on local 
command (by giving it no objective) just to see where it chooses to fire. 

Before you begin play, you should order your other infantry to defend for the moment 
to conserve their strength. The two mortars that are out of range of Huguette, can be 
assigned targets, either in conjunction with each other and the artillery, or individually. 

With battle plans set and orders issued, you should now press "F" and watch your attack 
unfold. Unlike the hapless French commander, however, your job is not done once the guns 
start to fire. Instead, you should keep track of your units, making sure that they press the> 
attack even if they encounter strong resistance, and listening to the sharpness of the explosions 
when they strike. As these get louder, it means the enemy is weakening, and you must begin 
to think of your next move. 

Once Huguette falls, you should probably move against Dominique, since you will 
have four infantry regiments to bring to bear against it, including whichever one moves into 
Huguette. Even before that happens, though, you should begin to pound the Dominique 
garrison with artillery and mortars to soften it up and niinimize your infantry losses. 
Remember that in addition to the damage from your ground attacks, the enemy is suffering 
from a lack of supply, and is therefore growing steadily weaker. Once Dominique falls, 
the other two forts in the main position will not be far behind, and Isabelle can be finished 
off last. 

Once you have won your glorious victory, you should check out the final report on 
losses and press "?" and RETURN to receive your well deserved award. While you may 
feel ready to go on to variant two, if you are a complete novice it might be a good idea to 
play the Viet Minh once or twice more, experimenting with different uses of artillery fire. 
In particular, you should try ordering your infantry to defend initially, make one or two 
strong artillery attacks, and then order the infantry to attack. You should find that this tactic 
reduces your casualties considerably. 

VARIANT TWO 

"Vulture": America Intervenes 

Introduction 

"Vubure "; A merica Intervenes allows you to reverse Eisenhower's decision to stay out of 
the conflict and find out if American air power could have saved Dien Bien Phu. This 
"what-if" variant assumes that, with the Viet Minh closing in, French and American staff 
officers in Paris, Washington, and Hanoi have engineered a powerful one-two punch: a full 
.scale version of "Condor", the maximum available force transported in and supplied by 
American air force planes, and a massive version of Vulture, involving ninety B-29s escorted 
by a similar number of navy fighters. Atom bombs are not available due to political and 
diplomatic considerations, but otherwise the mightiest force available to the Free World is 
ready to deliver a hammer blow. WQl it be enough to crack the ring around Dien Bien Phu? 



47 



Can you reverse history's judgement? Pit yourself against the Viet Minn in this variant and 
God out 

The French 

Hie French Objective 

Your primary objective is to break the siege by opening the southern approaches to the 
fortress. Specifically, you must seize the village of Ban Pom Lot, with its bridge across the 
Nam Nua, and the road hexes leading to Isabelle. If you can accomplish this you should 
achieve a tactical victory. To gain a decisive victory, you must push north of Isabelle and 
dear the area between it and the main encampment Your secondary objective is to clear 
the enemy from the northern forts. 

Victory Conditions: To win, you must gain more Victory Points than the Viet Minn. 
You can win an automatic decisive victory by capturing four approach hexes and/or 
Viet Minn hdd fort*. 

French Scenario Data 
Start 3pm, May 1,1954 

Emt 6pm, May 7, 1954 

Initial Supply: Critical (although note that this is in the army's supply pool; each unit 
actually carries considerable supply) 
Resuppiy Rate: Critical 
Off-map Supply: Southwest 
Replacement Rate: 25 men per unit per week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 

Reinforcements: 

Date Time Unit Location Probability 



5/1/54 m 




4/2 BPC 


South of Isabelle 


100% 








IstBPVN 


South of Isabelle 


100% 








3rdBPVN 


South of Isabelle 


100% 








lsiUSNFS 


French Sanctuary 


50% 




5/2/54 ra 




2ndUSNFS 


French Sanctuary 


50% 




Abbreviations: 












BPC,BPVN = 


: sec 


below 


FS = Fighter Squadron 






USN = USNavy 




m = midnight 







Special Rules: American bombers are limited to a 28 mile (hex) range. 
Special Note: The following are translations of the abbreviations used for French units 
GM - Mobile Group 
REI - Foreign Legion Infantry 
BPL - Laotian Parachute Battalion 
BCL - Laotian Chasseur Battalion 
BP VN - Vietnamese Parachute Battalion 
BPC - Colonial Parachute Battalion 
RALP - Airborne Light ArtfEety Regiment 
RCC - Armored Cavalry Regiment 

Tutorial 3: Commanding The French 

As the game begins, freeze it and plan your strategy. This time you have a change, so you 
should plan carefully. 

48 



First of all, familiarize yourself with your objectives. Press the "T" command to remove 
the clutter of units on the board, and refer once again to the FRENCH OBJECTIVES 
section above. 

Next, think about the terrain that lies between your relief force and the garrison. 
Because of the uncharacteristic speed and efficiency with which the operation is assumed 
to have proceeded so far, the rescue force has cleared Limestone Pass, the last major 
obstacle on its march from Laos. Nevertheless, the terrain before it is hardly favorable to 
the attack. Your most direct route as the crow flies leads through the jungle, over several 
major hills, across a significant water obstacle, and into an area of soggy rice paddies. The 
easiest route, along the road, loops around to the east, and is dominated by rough terrain on 
either side. However, any other route will lead you deep into the mountainous jungle, so 
your only real choice is straight up the middle or a hook to the right 

Having assessed the terrain, you should now consider the forces you have available 
and those which you will be opposing. Press "T" to return the units to the screen. In the lead 
you have a surprise element: a squadron of light tanks that were flown into Laos in pieces 
and hastily reassembled by American and French mechanics Down in with them (which is 
how the French got 10 tanks to Dien Bien Phu in actuality). Supporting them is a reinforced 
battery of recoilless rifles and a battalion of infantry. On each flank is a further battalion of 
infantry and a commando group. In addition, unbeknownst to your enemy another three 
battalions of paratroopers are preparing for a night drop into the paddies south of Isabelle. 
Last, but not least, at the top of the screen are three wings of American B-29 bombers, along 
with all the air assets the French can muster. And if no Chinese fighters appear, American 
navy fighters escorting the bombers may be able to join the fray. 

Because of the secrecy and rapidity of your advance, the Viet Minh only have been able 
to deploy a thin screen against you. Two battalions have been detached from the besieging 
force to block the road, and their flanks are guarded by the battered battalions of the 148th 
Independent regiment, which your forces brushed aside en route. Behind them, though, other 
battalions are moving against you, and as you approach the fortress you will ha ve to contend 
with the entire regiments entrenched here. 

Time is of the essence! You must move as rapidly as possible through the rough terrain, 
or else the enemy will be able to build an impenetrable wall against you. Use your recoilless 
rifles to blast the enemy from a distance, and your tanks to smash through his thin defenses. 
Keep your bombers active against the big formations whenever the weather permits, 
particularly the ones on the southern side of the fortress, and don't neglect to use your fighters 
in the mobile battle further south. 

Finally, don't overlook the offensive potential of your forces in Dien Bien Phu itself. 
Whether to sortie, and if so, when, will be among the most important decisions of the 
game. If they move too early, and they will be repulsed bloodily by Viet Minh regiments 
not yet softened up by the bombers; if they do not move or move too late, and they may 
lose a chance to swing the tide of the battle to the south. 

However you choose to conduct the attack, you will find yourself caught up in a hard 
fought battle. Keep your forces on the offensive and "Bon Chance!" 

The Viet Minh 

The Viet Minh Objective 

In this variant, months of careful preparation have been thrown into jeopardy. On the 
eve of victory, the Americans have moved to save the French. Fortunately, the situation 
can be saved, and you can snatch an even greater victory from the jaws of defeat Kill one 
tiger, and you become a hero; kill two, and you become king! 

49 



Victory Conditions You must gain more Victory Points than the French. If you 
capture five of the forts and/or approach hexes, you will win an automatic decisive victory. 

Viet Minh Scenario Information 

Swt3pm,May 1,1954 

End: 6pm, May 7, 1954 

Initial Supply; Ample 

Resuppiy rate: Sufficient 

Replacement rate: 50 men per unit per week 

Off-map Supply: Northeast and Northwest 

Reinforcements The 345/304 and 45/351 artillery regiments and the 675/351 
mortar regiment do not appear at start, but will appear in their usual positions around 
Dien Bien Phu during the first few days of battle. This reflects the fact the Viet Minh artillery 
was very carefully sited for the siege, and would have been cumbersome to bring to bear 
on a more mobile battle to the south. 

Special rules None 

Tutorial 4: Commanding the Viet Minh 

This tutorial is your graduation exercise. It is done in the form that will be followed in 
the subsequent games: detailed mechanics and tactical possibilities will not be given, but 
instead tips on play will be presented These are based on the experiences of the playtesters, 
veteran wargamers who ha ve played the games dozens of times. However, these are not the 
only, and perhaps not even the best, strategies. 

The key to victory in this variant is the river line, particularly the village of Ban Pom Lot. 
If the French can maintain a bridgehead there, they will be very difficult to defeat, while 
if they can be held or pushed south of the river, they will find it almost impossible to win. 
Therefore, you should concentrate on moving units south to hold this line, leaving Dien Bien 
Phu to be finished off once the relief force has been defeated. The final battle will probably 
not occur during the game, but that is okay, since you will win on points. Remember, move 
as much south as fast as possible, push the French paratroopers back, and dig in behind 
the river. 




DAY: 7 
CODE LAM SON 



50 



GAME TWO 
INTO THE VALLEY: IA DRANG, 1965 

Historical Background 

A House Divided 

As French rule came to an cod in 1954, no one questioned that Ho Chi Minh would 
win the scheduled elections. The victory has bestowed on him tremendous prestige, his army 
controlled half the country, and the opposition was disorganized and in most cases tainted 
by earlier collaboration with the French. American leaders, aware of Ho's strength and 
preoccupied by the Cold War, refused to sign the accords. So, too, did the nascent govern- 
ment of South Vietnam. 

The Communists laced formidable obstacles in assuming control' of the North. The 
departing French were formally correct, but some cooperated with American and South 
Vietnamese agents in sabotaging the economy and administration. Furthermore, hundreds 
of thousands of Vietnamese were pulling up stakes to move to the South. Many were 
Catholics; most of the others were from the middle and upper classes. They feared perse- 
cution under the atheistic Communists, who did indeed undertake a ruthless reorganization of 
society and the economy. Their program of eliminating the landlord and merchant classes 
and collectivizing agriculture and industry added to the dislocations following independence. 
For several years. Ho Chi Minn's government had no choice but to focus on consolidating 
power in the half of Vietnam they controlled 

To the south, a strongman named Ngo EHnh Diem soon emerged to lead the new 
government The Emperor, who had reigned nominally under the French, named him 
Prime Minister, since Diem was one of the few non-Communist nationalists untainted by 
collaboration. Once in power, though. Diem ousted the Emperor and, with American 
support contrived to get himself elected President He then suppressed several rival political 

factions and instituted an authori- 
tarian administration. His own 
relatives played a prominent part at 
the top of the government while 
Catholics, a distinct minority of the 
population, dominated the civil 
service and army. Favoritism and 
corruption flourished even as Diem 
instituted a regime of strict public 
morality, the combination drove 
a wedge deeper and deeper between 
the government and the people. 

From War to War 

Counting on elections to reunite 
the country, the Communists with- 
drew many of their agents from the 
South. Many Viet Minh sympa- 
thizers Ded as well, and Diem's 
government clamped down on those 
who remained Consequently, by 
the time that the Communist leader- 







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51 



ship realized thai Dem, backed by the Americans, had succeeded in blocking elections, the 
party apparatus in the South was too weak to offer effective opposition. Through the mid 
1950s the Viet Minn, now known as the Viet Cong, struggled to keep their political structure 
in existence, and confined the agitation to propaganda, recruitment, and occasional acts of 
terrorism. These had the desired result of heightening Kem's repression, so the insurgency 
began to gain popular support By 1960 the Viet Cong controlled some of the countryside in 
mc6trfthecountjysprovinces,aiKlmc«ofitinsomeofthem. 

Once convinced that Diem had established himself firmly, the United States committed 
itself to support him. In 195S the first American military advisors arrived to help create 
the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, better known as ARVN. Trained and equipped as 
a conventional force, it was ill-prepared to combat the growing insurgency. Its officers and 
mefl had little training and less inclination for the kind of civic action programs necessary 
to combat the guerrillas. Furthermore, its dependence on road-bound truck convoys for 
mobility and supplies made it extremely vulnerable to hit-and-run attacks and ambushes. 

Under American pressure, Diem's government undertook a massive program to 
relocate the rural population from its traditional villages into new "strategic hamlets". Not 
surprisingly, this program succeeded mainly in alienating the peasantry still further. Faced 
with a steadily deteriorating situation and inspired by the doctrine of "flexible response" to 
Communist challenges, the vigorous new Kennedy administration that took over in 1961 
gradually increased the American role, and stake, in the war. American training and logistical 
support was increased, the first American helicopter units arrived to give the ARVN air- 
mobility, and the new Special Forces, known as Green Berets, moved out into the country- 
side to organize the counter-insurgency at the grass-roots level. 

Meanwhile, Diem's hold on the towns and cities was slipping as well, particularly after 
the government's pro-Catholic bias provoked violent opposition by Buddhist militants. 
Pictures of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest government policies shocked 
Americans, who were further embarrassed when Diem's sister-in-law laughingly charac- 
terized the self-immolations as "barbecues." Eventually even Diem's generals turned against 
him. They made it clear that they needed only a nod from Washington to stage a coup. 
After much soul-searching, and only when absolutely convinced that Diem was incapable 
of reform, Kennedy approved. The coup began on November 1 , and after arresting Diem 
the plotters assassinated him. The Americans were dismayed by this turn of events, but then- 
attention was soon diverted by President Kennedy's assassination later the same month. 

Having overthrown a hated dictator, the generals enjoyed a measure of popularity at 
first Furthermore, American military support under Kennedy had begun to make inroads 
against the Viet Cong in the countryside. However, the new President, Lyndon Johnson, 
soon faced two of the fundamental obstacles to American success. The first was internal 
conflicts within the Saigon government, which often seemed to concern South Vietnamese 
politicians and officers more than the fight against the rebels. The second was the North 
Vietnamese willingness to match each increase of the American effort with one of their own. 

In 1964 the Americans stepped up logistical support to the Saigon regime, introduced 
thousands of American military and civilian technicians, and engaged in provocative ru.val 
maneuvers off North Vietnam. When North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked an American 
destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin, American aircraft began to bomb targets north of the 
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Further, President Johnson used the incident, along with 
a suspected second attack, to get the "Tonkin Resolution" through Congress. This resolution 
gave him virtually unlimited powers to conduct a war. Meanwhile, the North Vietnamese 
increased the flow of supplies into the South, began sending regular units of the North 



52 



Vietnamese Army (NVA) down the Ho Chi Minh trail through Laos and Cambodia, and 
mounted strong offensive operations across the country, decimating South Vietnamese 
units and damaging American military installations. Each sides' actions provoked commen- 
surate reactions by the other side, and the scale of conflict steadily escalated with no end 
in sight 

In early 1965 the United States began Operation Rolling Thunder, a systematic 
bombing campaign against the North. It also introduced the first American combat troops 
into the South, a brigade of Marines landed at Danang to protect the big American air base 
there. Despite massive damage to northern military and economic targets, Ho Chi Minh's 
government showed no signs of wavering. Indeed, the Viet Cong and NVA stepped up 
their attacks until they were destroying one ARVN battalion per week. 

The Battle of la Drang 

Faced with a rapidly growing American commitment, the NVA began preparations for 
an ambitious offensive in the Central Highlands. They aimed to cut South Vietnam tin 
half and force a settlement before the full weight of America's military might could come 
into play. In mid-summer a lull set in. The North Vietnamese prepared feverishly for their 
coming offensive, while the Americans, now commanded by General William 
Westmoreland, worked frantically to create the logistical base for a massive infusion of 
American combat units. 

By mid-October 1965 the NVA had two full regiments in position and a third on the 
way. They were commanded by a Geld front, the equivalent of a division. One regiment 
began a desultory siege of the Special Forces camp at Plei Me, while the second prepared an 
ambush along the road from Pleiku, which any relief force would have to follow. Once that 
was destroyed, the invaders could rum back, seize Plei Me, and then move in concert on 
the weakened garrison of Pleiku. It was a classic bait and ambush strategy straight out of 
the French war. 

Unfortunately, the plan ran into two problems. First, the ARVN commander in Pleiku 
smelted a rat, and refused to divide his meager forces by sending out a column. The Special 
Forces and their civilian irregular forces could survive on airdropped supplies, at least 
temporarily. The second problem was that the American First Cavalry Division was arriving 
on the coast at Qui Nhon, 100 kilometers away. 

WARNING: In order to maximize the impact of the game, you are advised to play the first 
variant as the NVA commander before reading further. 

The North Vietnamese command knew of this development, but they considered the 
distance too great for the division to be a factor in the coming battle. What they didn't 
consider was that the First Cav was a revolutionary military unit, an "airmobile" division 
that relied completely on helicopters for transportation. Immediately upon landing, it 
bounded to its new base at An Khe, half way to Pleiku, and quickly deployed forward 
elements into the battle area. An infantry battalion helicoptered into Pleiku, which freed up 
chough ARVN troops to form a relief column. 

Led by armored vehicles, this force moved up the road toward Plei Me on October 23. 
In the early evening, it ran into the NVA ambush. The ARVN held their ground until dark 
in a fierce fire-fight, and the badly mauled NVA regiment slipped away. By morning the 
First Cav had an artillery unit in place to support the task force, and helicoptered a battalion 
of infantry into Plei Me to reinforce ihe garrison there. The next day the ARVN task force 
arrived at the camp, and the NVA began a genera! withdrawal westwards. 

5j 



Having dramatically shifted the tide of battle, Westmoreland determined to take it on 
the flood. He ordered the First Cav to pursue the enemy into the wilds of the la Drang valley, 
bring them to bank, and destroy them. Despite the defensive victory, the American 
co mm a n de r s knew that the innovative airmobile concept was faring its first major test The 
la Drang valley contained a formidable variety of terrains: vast fields of shoulder-high 
elephant grass, scores of streams and rivers, dense rainforest and jungle, and soaring, 500 
meter high mountains. Two roads skirted the edges of this hostile wilderness, and at the far 
corner lay the Chu Pong massif, an even more rugged upland that was known to be a 
major NVA base. 

For several days the division's First Brigade groped blindly around the eastern edge of 
the valley, accomplishing little but giving the men their first taste of life in the boondocks 
while staff officers checked reference points off on their maps. Then, on November 1 , an 
American aircay troop spotted suspicious activity, and landed its rifle platoon to investigate. 
It came under intense fire, and the Americans and NVA raced to reinforce the contact 
elements. The American position was precarious, but as rifle companies from within a fifteen 
mile radius helicoptered to the battle the enemy was beaten back with heavy losses. 

At the end of the battle, the cavalrymen discovered a dead NVA officer with a map of 
the current locations of enemy units and their routes of march. Seizing upon this windfall, 
airmobile infantry helicoptered into blocking positions. The NVA attacked fiercely when 
they bumped into these positions, but in all cases were repulsed. The survivors then left their 
planned route of march and slogged westwards over more difficult trails. 

As the NVA melted westwards, the Cav scouted with little success as far as the Special 
Forces camp at Due Co, to the northwest of Plei Me. General Man, the NVA field front 
commander, bided his time, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on an exposed American 
unit His chances seemed to brighten when the Cav's 1st Brigade airlifted out of the valley, 
which Man interpreted as a retreat In fact, the tired cavalrymen were just being replaced by 
the fresh 3rd Brigade, which sent a battalion into a landing zone labelled X-ray at the base 
of the Chu Pong mountains. Remnants of the battered 33rd Regiment joined with the fresh 
66th Regiment in a series of furious assaults that threatened to overrun the outnumbered 
Americans. Infantry units hastened to their aid, though, while artillery and airstrikes 
decimated the NVA ranks. Even B-52s were used against suspected enemy concentrations 
in the mountains, the first tactical employment of the huge intercontinental bombers. The 
American position held, and after two days the battered NVA withdrew once again in 
defeat As a final blow, the Americans airlifted four battalions of ARVN troops to Due Co 
and then helicoptered them into blocking positions along the Laotian border, where they 
intercepted and further mauled the retreating NVA. 




DAY: 8 
CODE MAMELUKE THRUST 



54 



Guide to the Game 

As the helicopters of the First Air Cavalry Division swept up-country from Qui Nhon, 
they ushered in a new era, not just in the Vietnam war, but in warfare itself. For thousands 
of years men have walked or ridden into battle; now they flew. 

To get the best feel for the revolutionary nature of the battle, you should start by playing 
the N VA in the first variant. Then you can go on to play the Americans, in the same variant 
if you are a novice player, or in the longer, second variant if you are a veteran anxious for 
a larger challenge. After you are familiar with both sides of the long historical situation, 
you should move on to the other three variants. These allow you to try out different mixes 
of airmobile infantry, armored cavalry, and jungle-trained light infantry. You should play 
these in order, and do not neglect to play the NVA side of each as well. By the time you 
finish, you will have a good feel for the fighting in the first few years of the American phase 
of the war. 

VARIANT ONE 

First Blood 

Introduction 

This variant recreates the first five days of the First C'av's first campaign. As the game 
begins, the NVA are in the middle of a classic guerrilla operation. One regiment conducts 
a loose siege of Plei Me while the second lies in wait to ambush the relief force moving up 
the road. It was a tactic that had worked over and over against the road- bound French. 

At first, everything goes according to the North Vietnamese plan. The Special Forces 
at Plei Me survive only by airdropped supply, and even with that they are running low. 
Only a little past cue, a column of tanks and trucks moves out from Pleiku. At dusk on 
October 23 they run into the NVA ambush. An intense Grefight ensues, in which the ARVN 
manage to hold on until darkness brings a lull. During the night, the only thing unusual 
is the sound of helicopters in (he distance. 

The NVA 

The NVA Objective 

Your objective is to destroy the ARVN task force moving along the road toward 
Plei Me. Once that is done, you should take the fort, preparing the way for a move on 
Pleiku and final victory. 

Victory Conditions: You win if you gain 1 Victory Points or more than the US while 
maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least one US/ ARVN for every four of your own. 
You win an automatic decisive victory if you can take Plei Me, 

NVA Scenario Data 

Start 6 pm, October 23, 1965 

End: 6 pm, October 27, 1 965 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resuppiy Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: Northwest and West 

Replacement Rate: 1 50 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit per week 

Reinforcements: None 

Special Rules: None 



55 






UNIT TYPES: 

Nationality Icon 



IA DRANG, 1965 

Symbol Troop Type 



Mobility Range Supply 



US 
ARVN 


9- 


s 


Cavalry Battalion 

Airborne Battalion 


Heli 

Hcli 


1 rr.i 
1 mi 


Air 
Air 


US 
ARVN 

US/ ARVN 


* 


El 


I nf anLry Battalion 
Ranger Battalion 
CIDG Battalion 


Gnd 
Gnd 
Gnd 


1 mi 
1 mi 
1 mi 


Air 

Gnd 

Gnd 


US 
ARVN 


A 


IsD 


Armored Cavalry Squadron 
(Motorized) Task Force 


Gnd 
Gnd 


1 mi 
1 mi 


Air 
Gnd 


US 


■9' 


Q 


Air Cavalry Troop 


Air 


1 mi 


Air 


US 


■x. 


E 


Artillery ( 1 05mm) Battalion 


Heli 


8 mi 


Air 


US 


V. 


IS 


Artillery ( 1 05mm) Battalion 


Gnd 


8 mi 


Gnd . 



US 


S* 


m 


SP Artillery (155mm) Battalion 


Gnd 


12mi 


Gnd 


US 


V 


s 


Aerial Artillery Battery 


none 


62 mi 


Air 


US 


l» 


E3 


Headquarters 


Gnd 


1 mi 


Gnd 


US 


± 


m 


Tactical Fighter Squadron 


none 


62 mi 


Air 


us 


* 


a 


Strategic Bomber (B-52) Wing 


none 


62 mi 


Air 


NVA 


* 


m 


Infantry Battalion 


Gnd 


2mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


4*. 


H 


Mortar Company or Battalion 


Gnd 


4 mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


Jt 


S3 


Anti-Aircraft Battalion 


Gnd 


4mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


<* 


m 


Base Camp 


none 


none 


Gnd 


NVA 


h 


m 


Headquarters 


Gnd 


1 mi 


Gnd 


UNIT TYPES: KHE SANH, 1968 

Nationality Icon t Symbol Troop Type 


Mobility 


Range 


Supply 


us 

ARVN 


*- 


m 


Cavalry Battalion 
Airborne Battalion 


Heli 
Heli 


1 mi 
1 mi 


Air 
Air 


US 
ARVN 

US/ ARVN 
ARVN 


-»» 


\S\ 


Marine Battalion 
Infantry Battalion 
CIDG Battalion 
RF/PF Battalion 


Gnd 
Gnd 
Gnd 
Gnd 


1 mi 
1 mi 
1 mi 
1 mi 


Air 
Air 
Air 
Air 


US 


»- 


L-j 


Air Cavalry Troop 


Air 


1 mi 


Air 


US 


"X. 


E 


ArtiIlery(105-155mm)Bn 


Heli 


8 mi 


Air 


US 


"X. 


LfiJ 


Artillery ( 1 55mm) Battalion 


Heli 


12 mi 


Air 



US 


^ 


L=!J 


Artillery ( 1 75-203 mm) Bn 


none 


26 mi 


Air 


us 


V 


3 


Aerial Artillery Battery 


none 


62 mi 


Air 


US/ ARVN 


* 


M 


Base Camp 


none 


8 mi 


Air 


us 


1* 


m 


Headquarters 


Gnd 


1 mi 


Gnd 


US 


* 


col 


Tactical Fighter Squadron 


none 


62 mi 


Air 


us 


* 


co| 


Strategic Bomber (B-52 ) Wing 


none 


62 mi 


Air 


NVA 


ft 


s 


Infantry Battalion 


Gnd 


2 mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


dK 


m 


Tank Company 


Gnd 


1 mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


J*. 


_!J 


Artillery Battalion (75mm, etc. ) 


Gnd 


4mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


Jt 


•] 


Artillery Battalion ( 1 22-1 52mm) 


Gnd 


10 mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


r* 


w 


Headquarters 


Gnd 


lmi 


Gnd 



56 



TERRAIN FEATURES 



Effect on Attacking: Effect on Defending 



Symbol 


Terrain 


Movement Infantry 


Support 


Infantry 


Support 


1 


Road 


Very Fast Weaker 


Stronger 


Normal 


Normal 


JL 

nr 


Crossroad 


Very Fast Weaker 


Stronger 


Normal 


Normal 




Clear 


Fast Weaker 


Stronger 


Normal 


Normal 


J - V 


Bridge 


Fast Weaker 


Stronger 


Normal 


Normal 


'•y 


Village 


Fast Weaker 


Stronger 


Normal 


Norma! 


■ 


Town 


Fast Normal 


Normal 


Very Strong 


Stronger 


U 


Fort 

River 


Fast Normal 


Normal 


Very Strong 


Stronger 


< 


Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Stronger 


Weaker 


* 


Light Forest Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Stronger 


Weaker 


fr 


Rice Paddy Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Stronger 


Weaker 


vv 

w 


Plantation 


Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Stronger 


Weaker 


tf 


Jungle 


Very Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Very Strong 


Weaker 


£ 


Swamp 


Very Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Very Strong 


Weaker 


?t 


Mountain 
USSanclu 


Very Slow Normal 


Weaker 


Very Strong 


Weaker 


SiSiK -Si 

■ 


ary Fast Normal 


Normal 


Very Strong 


Very Strong 


:$&*; 


NVA Sane 

YPES:I 

I Icon 


tuary Fast Normal 


Normal 


Very Strong 


Very Strong 


UNTTT 

NationaJiti 


HEN BIENPHU, 1954 

Svmbol Troop Tvpe 




Mobility 


Range Supply 


French 


|4^| Fortress Garrison 




Gnd 


1 mi Gnd 


French 


* 


| X ] Infantry Battalion 




Gnd 


1 mi Gnd 


French 


-ft 


(X| Main Garrison 




Gnd 


6 mi Gnd 


French 


4£ 


|a| Armor Squadron 




Gnd 


1 mi Gnd 


French 


P 


[ 9 | Artillery Battery 




Gnd 


2 mi Gnd 


French 


] |-tx| Brigade Headquarter 




Gnd 


1 mi Gnd 


French 


* 


|oo| Fighter Squadron 




none 


62 mi Air 


US 


|ooj Bomber Wing 




none 


28 mi Air 


VietMinh 
VietMinh 


* 


1 — -i Infantry Battalion 
L2SJ Infantry Regiment 




Gnd 
Gnd 


1 mi Gnd 
1 mi Gnd 


VielMinh 


J^ 
P 


1 • 1 Mortar Regiment 




Gnd 


2 mi Gnd 


VietMinh 


[ # | Artillery Regiment 




Gnd 


6 mi Gnd 


Viet Minh 


1 |-b.| Division Headquaners 


Gnd 


1 mi Gnd 



KEY: 

US = United Slates military forces 

Gnd = ground movement or supply 

Air = high-speed air movement, or air transported supplies 

mi = miles distance, one hex ( map position) is one mile 



a 



CQMMJ}W$B 



D 



Prelude: Dien Bien Phu, 1954 










-<r 



VESTNA? 



Empty Fishhook: Cambodia, 1970 




CONFLICT IN VIETNAM 
AiiCRO PROSE 



J I W U L » t l O • ■ I("1U| 

61986 




The Tide Turns: Khe Sanh, 1968 




First Cracks: Quang Tri, 1 972 






Into the Valley: .» Drang, 1965 



SUMMARY OF COMMANDS 

CURSOR CONTROL 

C-64/C-I28 Keyboard: CRSR keys and SHIFT * CRSR keys (for Taster movement use 

"<" up, " , " down, ">" left, "," right). 

Apple ne/c Keyboard: Cursor arrow keys. 

Apple 11+ Keyboard: Left and right arrow keys. "P" upwards, -" downwards. 

IBM PC Keyboard: Four-direction arrow keys (with SHIFT for faster movement). 

Atari 800/XL/XE Keyboard: White-framed arrow keys (with CONTROL for faster 

movement). 

Joystick: On any machine this also controls cursor movement 

W = Who s reporting: Moves cursor onto the unit that sent the message. 

INFORMATION 

Fire Button/Space Bar = Unit Information: Gives information about the unit at the 

cursor. 

G = General commanding the unit: Gives information about the general commanding 

that unit. Not available for Atari 800/XL/XE. 

C = City & VP information: Gives name of locale (if any) and victory point value of the hex. 

COMMANDS 

A = Attack: Commands the unit under the cursor to attack. 

D = Defend: Commands the unit under the cursor to defend. 

M = Move: Commands the unit under the cursor to move. 

R = Reserve: Commands the unit under the cursor to go into reserve. 

H = Here May be used after an Attack, Defend, Move or Reserve order to specify an 

objective. 

UTILITIES 

F = Freeze the clock: Freezes the game action, press "F" again to restart. 

T = Terrain toggle: Removes units and displays terrain underneath, press again to restore. 

U = Unit icons/symbols toggle: Changes unit display from symbols to icons, and back. 

? = Casualty and victory status: Displays game status so far, including casualties, and 

victory level. 

B = Flash-Back: Go to flash-back mode to review the last few "days*' of game play. 

Q = Change player roles: Used to change sides in a two-player game. Then press T 

(terrain toggle) to show troops. 

>(+ on C64/C128) = Faster Realtime: Increases the speed of play. 

< {- on C64/C1 28) = Slower Realtime: Slows down the speed of play. 

S = Save game: Saves the current game situation to a disk. C64/C128 and Atari 

800/XL/XE versions require a formatted disk already available. During the save game 

procedure you enter a sa ve-game file name of 1 -8 characters. 

L = Load game: Reloads a game previously saved. You must first start a game with the 

same parameters, press L, then enter the proper file name when prompted. 



UNIT TYPES: CAMBODIA, 1970 

Nationality Icon Symbol Troop Type 

US ■^t r— i Cavalry Battalion 
ARVN L-i-J Airborne Battalion 



Mobility Range Supply 



Heli 
Heli 



1 mi 
1 mi 



US 
US 
US/ARVN 



Armored Battalion Gnd 1 mi 

|rj| Mechanized Battalion Gnd 1 mi 

Armored Cavalry Squadron Gnd 1 mi 



ARVN 
US 



[Xj Infantry Battalion 



E~E] Air Cavalry Troop 



Gnd 



Air 



1 mi 



1 mi 



US/ARVN 



US 



IS Artillery (1 05mm) Battalion Heli 8mi 



Air 
Air 



Air 
Air 
Air 



Air 



Air 



Air 



Bj ArUllery(I55mm)Battalion Heli 12 mi Air 



US 



US 



[p] SP Artillery (175-203mm)B n 
|VJ Aerial Artillery Battery 



20mi Air 



US/ARVN jj JWI Base Camp 
US/ARVN |» 

Ml ±L 



62 mi Air 



[Hg] Headquarters 

Igg] Tactical Fighter Squadron 



Air 



Gnd 



1 mi 



God 



Sane 



US 

NVA 



«ft> [co] Strategic Bomber (B-52) Wing Sane 62 mi "a^ 

1><J Infantry Battalion Gnd 2 mi Gn 



NVA 



^ LlJ Mortar Company 



2 mi Gnd 



NVA 
NVA 



3 

-ft 



Gnd 



[E Artillery Battalion (1 22- 152mm) G nd 
SB 



J mi Gnd 



10 mi Gnd 



Base Camp 



NVA 



^ Lb^J Headquarters 



Gnd 



UNIT TYPES: QUANG TRI, 1972 

Nationality Icon Symbol Troop Type 
ARVN ^* [y] Ranger Battalion 



Gnd 



lmi Gnd 



Mobility Range Supply 



Gnd 



ARVN 

ARVN -ft 

ARVN 



1 mi Gnd 



Infantry Battalion 

IX] Marine Battalion 
RF/PF Battalion 



Gnd 
Gnd 
Gnd 



lmi Gnd 
1 mi Gnd 
1 mi Gnd 



ARVN 
ARVN 



ARVN 



ARVN 



S Artillery (15Smm) Battalion Gnd 12 mi Gnd 



ARVN 



P] Artillery (175mm) Battalion 



ARVN E 

US/ARVN •£ 



jfaj Headquarters 



NVA 



Armored Regiment Gnd 1 mi Gnd 

Armored Cavalry Regiment Gnd I mi Gnd 



S Artillery (105mm) Battalion Gnd 8 mi 



Gnd 



26 mi Gnd 



Gnd 



1 mi 



Gnd 



Tactical Fighter Squadron 



62 mi Air 



US <^> Cg Strategic Bomber (B-52) Wing none 62 mi Air 

NVA ft [Xj Infantry Battalion Gnd 1 mi Gnd 



o] Tank Regiment 



Gnd 



1 mi 



Gnd 



NVA 


*> 


L?J 


Mortar Company 


Gnd 


2 mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


jC 


_«J 


Artillery ( 1 30mm) Battalion 


Gnd 


18 mi 


Gnd 


NVA 


* 


^i 


Headquarters 


Gnd 


1 mi 


Gnd 



KEY: US ■ United States military forces AR VN = South Vietnamese military forces 

NVA = North Vietnamese military forces Gnd = ground movement or supply 

Heli = helicopter airmobile "jump" moves possible 
Air = high-speed air movement, or air transported supplies 
Sane = can airmobile "jump" bases from one sanctuary to another 
mi = miles distance, one hex (map position ) is one mitt 



57 



Commanding the NVA 

Your task is clear. You must attack the ARVN task force strongly, and if you cannot 
destroy it, you should at least cripple it. Then, perhaps leaving one battalion to block the 
road, you should move all available forces against Plei Me. You should accomplish these 
objectives as quickly as possible, for there is an American unit of unknown power moving 
into the region. 

TheUS/ARVN 

WARNING: In order to maximize the impact of the game, you should not read any further 
until you have played the variant as the NVA. 

The US/AJRVN Objective 

Your objective is to hold Plei Me and defeat the NVA forces in the vicinity. This siege 
is believed to be the opening move of a major Communist offensive, so your performance 
may have a decisive impact on the course of the war. 

Victory Conditions: You win if you can keep the NVA from gaining more than 
10 Victory Points while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least four NVA for 
every one of your own. You cannot win an automatic victory, but you should remember 
that the NVA will win one if they take Plei Me. 

US/ARVN Scenario Information 

Start 6 pm, October 23, 1965 

End: 6 pm, October 27, 1 965 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: Northeast 

Replacement Rate: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: (see chart) 

Reinforcements: 

Date Time Unit Location Probability 



10/23/65 m 


2/19ArtBn 


US Sanctuary 


100% 


10/24/65 m 


2/12CavBn 


Plei Me 


100% 




l/12CavBn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




l/8CavBn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




2/8CavBn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




2/17 Art Bn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




A/l/9Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




B/l/9Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




C/l/9Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




IstTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




2ndTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




3rdTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




A/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




B/2/20A«Art 


US Sanctuary 


50% 



Abbreviations: 

Art Bn = Artiuery Battalion 
Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion 
Aircav = Aircav Troop 



TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron 
AerArt = Aerial Artillery Company 

m,n = midnight, noon 



Special Rules None 



58 




i 3 



c ss B 3 so s 

05 o 3 = p 5 

2 2 O ffi S £ 

p o 35 3D D O 

m 1 m 50 



o y 

m O 

i 2 

|i 

m ^ 

«■ B 

en 



01 ro 



59 



Commanding the US/ARVN 

As commander of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry division, you have at your 
disposal a force of unprecedented mobility and firepower. However, you will End that 
it is not as easy to use these assets properly as it may first appear. In fact, whether you are 
a novice or a veteran wargamer, you will probably find yourself uncertain exactly what 
to do with all this power. If you can move anywhere, how do you decide where to move? 
If you can hit anything, how do you decide what to hit? 

Of course, as your forces appear, the operational situation will give you some clues. 
The 2/19 Artillery Battalion should clearly fire in support of the ARVN task force. The 
2/12 Cavalry Battalion will have plenty to do around Plei Me, while the other cavalry 
battalions can be used to pursue the NVA retreating from their ambush positions. Your 
aircav should move in an arc up the river valley to scout out hidden NVA units in the 
jungle, although you may want to have one sweep the clear tenain to the east of the road, 
in case any NVA try to slip away in that direction. Whenever you encounter the enemy, 
try to surround them with your infantry and blast them with your artillery, gunships, and 
tactical air support. 



VARIANT TWO 

Air Cavalry In Action 

Introduction 

This variant presents the historical battle in its entirety. It begins like First Blood, but do 
not expect the NVA to be hidden in the same places! You will find that you use the entire 
map, which scrolls to the west and north. Whether you play the US/ ARVN or NVA, you 
will find that the situation is wide open. 



The US/ ARVN 

US/ARVN Objectives 

Your initial objectives in this scenario are the same as in FIRST BLOOD: to relieve 
Plei Me and turn back the Communist offensive. Assuming you are successful in this, your 
task is then to sweep the la Drang valley, find the enemy, and destroy him. 

Victory Conditions: The US/ARVN must gain at least 100 Victory Points more than 
the NVA while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least four NVA for every one 
US/ARVN casualty to win. There are no automatic victory conditions in this variant. 

US/ARVN Scenario Information 

Start 6pm, October 23, 1965 

End: 6pm, November 15, 1965 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: Northeast 

Replacements: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Rdnf brcemen fcc (see chart) 

60 



Reinforcements; 






Date Time 


Udt 


Location 


ProbabOty 


10/23/65 d 


2/19ArtBn 


US Sanctuary 


100% 


10/24/65 n 


2/12CavBn 


PleiMt 


!0O% 




l/I2CavBn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




1/8 Civ Bo 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




2/8CavBn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




2/17 Art Bn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




A/1/9 Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




B/l/9Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




C/ 1/9 Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




IstTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




2adTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




3niTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




A/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




B/2/20AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 


11/10/65 n 


IstARVNRngBn 


Due Co 


50% 




2ndARVNRngB4i 


Due Co 


50% 




3rdARVNRngBn 


Due Co 


50% 




IstARVNRecon 


Due Co 


50% 


11/11/65 n 


7th Bomb Wing 


US Sanctuary 


100% 



Abbreviations: 

Art Bn = Artillery Battalion 
Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion 
Aircav = Aircav Troop 
TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron 
AerArt = Aerial Artillery Company 



RngBn = Ranger Battalion 
Recon = Reconnaissance Battalion 
Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing 
m, n = midnight, noon 



Special Rules 

1. On 1 1/16 the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry relieved the 1st Brigade. While the actual 
departure and arrival of the units is not carried out (the brigades were virtually identical), US 
Cavalry Battalions are automatically boosted to or near to 100% effectiveness on this dale. 

2 To reflect the capture of a map containing NVA deployments on November 1, most 
NVA units will briefly become visible to the American player on November 2. 

Commanding the US/ARVN 

As commander of the US/ARVN forces in this variant, you wfll face the same basic 
situation as in Firs! Blood. If you have not read the "Commanding the US/ARVN" section 
of variant one, you are advised to do so now. 

Since this variant lasts much longer, you will have much more opportunity to refine 
your techniques of search, envelopment, and bombardment. You wiU also begin to appre- 
ciate why, for all the power at their command, American officers found the war so 
frustrating. While your troops can go almost anywhere, they cannot do so instantaneously, 
and by the time reinforcements arrive you may find that the NVA has damaged your 
forces and slipped away. Even if your reinforcements do arrive on time, you will find the 
enemy extremely difficult to catch. You will rarely have enough unite to surround him 
completely, and if you don't he is sure to slip through your fingers. Similarly, for all your 
fire support, you will find it difficult to bring the power of the guns and aircraft to bear. 
Once one unit fires on the enemy, he is likely to retreat and disappear, leaving your other 
units to blow up empty jungle (although you will not hear or see this in the game). 



61 



The only solution to these problems is careful planning, methodical execution, and, 
above all, patience. Once y ou push the NVA away from the western end of the map, line up 
your troops with two hexes between each, and move systematically and carefully up the 
valley. Don't be discouraged if you cant make contact for a while, or if the enemy 
constandy seems to escape. The Communists know that Americans like to get in there and 
fix things quick, and the whole basis of their strategy was to use that against us. Technology 
alone could not win this war; what the American commander must have is a degree of 
discipline and patience seldom found amongst the "hairy barbarians" from the West 

The NVA 



WARNING: In order to maximize the impact of the game, you should not read any 
furtheruntil you have played this variant as the Americans. 



The NVA Objective 

Your original objective is to destroy the ARVN task force and capture Pla Me, but 
with the intervention of the air cavalry you will probably find that this is beyond your 
capabilities. If you do not succeed at these quickly, your objective becomes to punish the 
Americans as severely as possible while preserving as much of your own force as possible. 
You can also get credit for main taining a presence in the la Drang valley. 

Victory CoodWons: You must prevent the US/ ARVN from gaining 100 Victory 
Points more than you while naaintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least one US/ARVN 
for every four of your own. No automatic victory is possible in this variant 

NVA Scenario Information 
Start October 23, 1965 
End: November 1 5, 1965 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resuppty Rate: Sufficient 
Off-map Supply: Northwest and West 
Replacements: 1 50 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Retol orcements: (see chart) 



Reinforcements: 








Date Thne 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 




11/2/65 m 


H-15VClnfBn 


WofChuPong 


50* 




11/7/65 m 


1/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






2/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






3/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






66th Mort Co 


Cambodia 


50% 






IndMortCo 


Cambodia 


50% 






IndAABn 


Cambodia 


50% 




Abbreviations: 










VC = VietCoog 




Ind = Independent 






Inf Bn = Infantry Battalion 


AA Bn = Anti-aircraft Battalion 




W=West 




m= midnight 






Mort Co = Mortar Company 








Special Rules None 









62 



Commanding theJSVA 

You will almost certainly find that the US forces arrive too soon for you to defeat the 
ARVN and take Plei Me. Therefore, as a good guerrilla commander, you should be 
prepared to fall back quickly and avoid a stand-up fight you are bound to lose. Don't be 
proud: the waves may ha ve to dash a thousand times against the rocky shore, but in the end 
they will reduce it to Waikiki Beach. 

Once you have broken contact, you will be surprised how much you will have to do. 
The trick is to pick a relatively weak, isolated unit, hit hard and fast, and then get away 
quickly, before the Americans can bring their firepower to bear. If you find a particularly 
vulnerable unit, you can try and press home your attack, though this is a tricky business. 
Otherwise, you should hang back from American units, grabbing Victory Point hexes 
after the enemy has passed through, and sniping at enemy units from a distance. Remember 
to exploit the fact that your infantry can attack from two hexes away; this is invaluable in 
executing hit and run attacks. Finally, keep in mind that you can see the Americans, but 
they can't see you; the game is not as one-sided as it seems. 

VARIANT THREE 

The Light Infantry Option 

Introduction 

During the war, and ever since, commentators have treated America's wholesale 
adoption of helicopters as a foregone conclusion, and the performance of the machines as 
a notable success. The strength of this attitude is surprising, considering that America lost 
over 4000 of the machines, at several hundred thousand dollars a pop, while losing the war. 
Helicopters certainly had, and continue to have, tremendous military potential, but the 
overwhelming role they played was neither inevitable nor necessarily the best available 
option. Variants three and four posit two possible alternative forces that could have been 
deployed in place of the airmobile cavalry. 

The Light Infantry Option assumes that during the years leading up to American inter- 
vention, the U.S. Army decided to combat guerillas not with the civic action approach of 
the Green Beret Special Forces or the airmobile tactics of the Air Cavalry, but instead 
adopted a solution that contained a little of both. Instead of a mechanical juggernaut, the 
First Cavalry has become an elite counter-insurgency force specially trained in jungle 
warfare. It uses helicopters to transport units into the general area of operations, but once 
there, the soldiers hump across country for the rest of the operation. 

The division places less reliance on airborne reconnaisance, but is stronger in one type 
of helicopter: gunships. Since it relies on feet rather than helicopters as tactical transport, 
the division does not construct a series of firebases for airmobile artillery. Like other aspects 
of the force, this presents certain disadvantages, but it is interesting to see how these balance 
against its strong points. One in particular stands out: this force would have certainly been 
far less expensive, and thus it would have been economical to deploy more men. 

TheUS/ARVN 

US/ ARVN Objectives 

In this variant your objective is to encircle and destroy the NVA near Plei Me, and then 
move up the la Drang valley in order to bring the remaining enemy to battle. 

Victory Conditions: The US/ ARVN must gain at least 100 Victory Points more than 

63 



the NVA while maintaining a favorable loss ratio of at least four NVA casualties for every 
US/ARVN one. There is do automatic victory in this variant 

US/ARVN Scenario Information 
Start 6pm, October 23, 1965 
End: 6 pm, November 15, 1965 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Ample 
Off-map Supply: Northeast 

Replacements: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements (see chart) 



Reinforcements 






Dale lime 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 


10/24/65 o 


IstBdeHQ 


PleiMeTumorT 


100% 




l/L2CavBn 


PleiMeTurnoff 


50% 




2/12CavBn 


PleiMe 


100% 




1/aCavBn 


NEofPleiMe 


100% 




2/8CavBn 


N ofPlei Me 


100% 




l/7CavBn 


N of PleiMe 


100% 




2/7CavBn 


NW of PleiMe 


100% 


• 


IstARVNRecon 


W of PleiMe 


100% 




B/l/9 Aircav 


PleiMeTurnoff 


100% 




2/19 Art Bn 


Plei Me Turnoff 


100% 




2ndTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




3rdTFS 


US Sanctuary 


33% 




A/2/20 Aer Art 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




B/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




C/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 


11/10/65 n 


IstARVNRngBn 


Route 14 


50% 




2nd ARVN RngBn 


Route 14 


50% 




3rd ARVN RngBn 


Route 14 


50% 



Abbreviations: 

Art Bn = Artillery Battalion (Towed) 
Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion (Infantry) 
Aircav = Aircav Troop 
TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron 
AerArt = Aerial Artillery Company 



RngBn = Ranger Battalion ( Infantry) 
Recon = Reconnaissance Batalion (Infantry) 
N, W, N W, etc. = Compass Points 
m, n = midnight, noon 



Special Rules: To reflect the capture of a map containing NVA deployments on 
November I, most NVA units will briefly become visible to the American player on 
November 2. 



Commanding the US/ARVN 

As in the historical situation, you have overwhelming firepower behind you, although 
your artillery wfl! help you less than your aircraft. Your mobility, though, is much less, 
and you need to modify your strategy accordingly. Instead of advancing on a broad front, 
with your units separated by two hexes, keep them within one hex of each other so they can 
come to each other's aid. Because of this need for concentration, you will not be able to 
sweep the valley in one pass, but instead will need to go back and forth. Once you make 
contact, you must make even more efficient use of supporting fires since you cannot surround 

64 



the enemy as easily. Also, because you cannot rush reinforcements to the aid of a threatened 
unit, you must protect Plei Me more carefully. 

TheNVA 

The NVA Objective 

Your original objective is to destroy the ARVN task force and capture Plei Me. 
However, once the American forces arrive, you will probably find that this is beyond your 
capabilities. In this case, your objective becomes to inflict casualties on the Americans 
suffering as few as possible yourself. You should also seek to recapture Victory Point loca- 
tions after the US/ ARVN leaves them. 

Victory Conditions: You must prevent the US/ARVN from gaining 100 Victory 
Points more than you while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least one US/ARVN 
casualty for every four of your own. There is no automatic victory in this variant 

NVA Scenario Information 
Start October 23, 1965 
End: November 15, 1965 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Sufficient 
Off-map Supply; Northwest and West 
Replacements: 1 50 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: {see chart) 



Reinforcements: 








Date Time 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 




10/28/65 m 


H-15VCInfBn 


WofChuPong 


50% 




11/2/65 m 


1/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






2/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






3/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






66th Mort Co 


Cambodia 


50% 






IndMortCo 


Cambodia 


50% 






IndAABn 


Cambodia 


50% 




Abbreviations: 










VC = Viet Cong 




Ind = Independent 






Inf Bn = Infantry Battalion 


AA Bn = Anti-aircraft Battalion 




W = West 




m, n = midnight, noon 






Mort Co = Mortar Company 









Special Rules None 

Commanding the NVA 

Despite the difference in the American's force structure from the historical situation, 
your approach to the batde changes little. If you have not already read the "Commanding the 
NVA" sections of variants one and two, you should do so now. 

Nevertheless, a few differences in your position are worth noting. Because the Americans 
are less mobile, you should seek to spread them out. To do this, deliberately move one of 
your units into view away from the main American forces, and you will see them move 
toward the contact. If you do this in a few places, you will draw them apart, and then you 
can gang up on one and damage it. Remember, though, American aircraft and artillery 
are but a radio call away. 

65 



VARIANT FOUR 

The Armored Cavalry Option 
Introduction 

Like the previous variant, the Armored Cavalry Option offers a radically different force 
structure for the American military effort in Vietnam. However, this variant posits that 
instead of airmobile infantry or elite jungle fighters, the US. Army chose to rely on units 
of armored, fully tracked vehicles. The vulnerability of France's road-bound light tanks 
gave armor a bad name in counter-insurgency circles in the early '60's, but during the war, 
the Americans found that modern medium tanks, armored personnel carriers, and self- 
propelled artillery could grind across country, even forested and mountainous country, if 
assisted by engineers with bulldozers and portable bridges. By the time the Pentagon 
realized this, however, ceilings on manpower were already in effect, and the force structure 
was pretty well set. There were mechanized units in Vietnam, but this variant gives you a 
chance to see how effective they might have been as the centerpiece of the American battle 
force. 

TheUS/ARVN 

US/ ARVN Objectives 

Your objective is to relieve Plei Me and then push on up the la Drang valley, engaging 
and destroying any NVA units you encounter. 

Victory Conditions: You must gain at least 100 Victory Points more than the NVA 
to win while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least four NVA for every one 
of your own. There are no automatic victory conditions in this variant. 

US/ ARVN Scenario Information 
Start 6 pm, October 23, 1 965 
End: 6 pm, November 1 5, 1 965 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Ample 
Off- map Supply: Northeast 

Replacements: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 



Reinforcements: 








Date 


Time 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 




10/24/65 


n 


IstBdcHQ 


PleiMeTumoff 


100% 








l/12AcavSq 


PleiMeTumofT 


50% 








2/12Ac4vSq 


Plei Me 


100% 








l/8AcavSq 


NE of Plei Me 


100% 








2/7AcavSq 


NW of Plei Me 


100% 








1st ARVN Recon 


US Sanctuary 


100% 








B/l/9Airaw 


PleiMeTumoff 


100% 








3/18 Art Bn 


PleiMeTumoff 


100% 








A/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 








B/2/20AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 








C/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


50% 








IstTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 








2ndTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 








3rdTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 





66 



11/9/65 n 


1st ARVN RngBn 


Route 14 


50% 




2nd ARVN RngBn 


Route 14 


50% 




3rdARVNRngBn 


Rome 14 


50% 


U/ll/65 m 


7th Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 



Abbreviations: 

Bde HQ = Brigade Headquarters RngBn = Ranger Battalion (Infantry) 

Art Bn = Artillery Battalion (self-propelled) Recon = Reconnaissance Battalion (Airmobile) 

Acav Sq ■ Armored Cavalry Squadron Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing 

Aircav = Aircav Troop N, W, NW, etc. = Compass Points 

TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron m, n = midnight, noon 

AerArt = Aerial Artillery Company 



Special Rules: To reflect the capture of a map containing NVA deployments on 
November 1, most NVA units wul briefly become visible to the American player on 
November 2. 

Commanding the US/ ARVN 

In this variant, unlike the previous three, you not only have overwhelming fire support, 
but also you have maneuver elements with considerable shock power. However, your 
mobility is quite limited. Therefore, your tactics should be considerably different. You should 
be as aggressive as possible, attacking NVA units whenever and wherever possible, doggedly 
pursuing the retreating enemy until you destroy him. Each of your units is very strong by 
itself, so don't worry about keeping them within supporting distance: just worry about 
making and then relentlessly keeping contact with the enemy. Your fire support is still 
important, but your main weapon is your troops on the ground. The only thing to remember 
is that it would take significantly longer for your armor to get into the battle zone, so expect 
that your enemy's plan is further advanced 



IheNVA 

NVA Objectives 

Your first objective is to destroy the ARVN task force and capture Plei Me. However, 
once the American armor arrives, you will End that this is unlikely to happen. As in the 
other variants, your objective then becomes 10 inflict casualties on the Americans while 
suffering as few as possible yourself. You should also seek to recapture Victory Point 
locations after the US/ ARVN leaves them. 

Victory Conditions: You must prevent the US/ARVN from gaining 100 Victory 
Points more than you while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least one US/ARVN 
loss for every four of your own. There is no automatic victory in this variant. 

NVA Scenario Information 
Start October 23, 1965 
End:Novemberl5,1965 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Sufficient 
Off-map Supply: Northwest and West 
Replacements: 1 50 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 

67 



Reinforcements: 






Date Time 


Unit 


Location 


Protabfflty 


10/28/65 m 


H-!5VClnfBn 


WofChuPong 


50% 


10/28/65 m 


1/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 




2/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 




3/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 




66thMortCo 


Cambodia 


50% 




IndMortCo 


Cambodia 


50% 




IndAABn 


Cambodia 


50% 


Abbreviations: 








VC=VietCong 




Ind= Independent 




Inf Bn = Infantry Battalion 


AA Bo = Anti-aircraft Battalion 


W = Wea 




m, n = midnight, noon 




Mort Co = Mortar Company 






Special Rides None 








»J\7A 







Despite the difference in the American's force structure from the historical situation, 
your approach to the battle should be similar. If you have not already read the "Commanding 
the NVA" sections of variants one and two, do so now. 

Nevertheless, there are a few differences in your position that are worth noting. Because 
the American armor is so strong, you must be even more careful not to engage in a stand-up 
fight against it Instead, you should avoid them except when you can mass three or four 
infantry units and a mortar company against one lone Squadron. However, even in this 
case, you should not move adjacent, but instead should attack from one hex away, trying to 
inflict a few casualties before moving back out of range. Also remember that the ARVN 
units are considerably weaker than the American cavalry, so you might try drawing the 
Americans off to the north-west while keeping the bulk of your force hidden near Plei Me. 
Then you can fall upon the garrison and perhaps overrun it before the Americans can react 

VARIANT FIVE 
The Final Mix 

Introduction 

As the war went on, the Army came to realize the need to mix the three types of forces: 
airmobile, elite infantry, and armor. Over the years, the Americans launched a series of 
mobile "Search and Destroy" operations against suspected NVA troop concentrations and 
bases, and gradually forged a ccmibined arms team in which each element played its part 
This variant gives you the opportunity to command a brigade that might have responded to 
the CIDG's call in 1967 or 1968. 



TheUS/ARVN 

US/ARVN Objectives 

Your objective is to relieve Plei Me and then move up the la Drang valley, locating and 
destroying any enemy forces in that area. 

Victory Conditions: You must gain 100 more Victory Points than the NVA while 
mainlining a favorable casualty ratio of at least four NVA for every one of your own. 

There is no automatic victory for either side in this variant. 



US/ ARVN Scenario Information 

Start: 6 pm, October 23. 1 965 

End: 6 pm, November 15, 1965 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: Northeast 

Replacements: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: (see chart) 






Reinforcements: 








Date lime 


Unh 


Location 


Probability 




10/23/65 m 


2/19ArtBn 


NEofPleiMe 


100% 






t/5CavBn 


SE of Due Co 


100% 




10/24/65 n 


l/12CavBn 


PleiMe 


50% 






2/7AcavSq 


PleiMeTurnofT 


100% 






2/12AcavSq 


Plei Me Turnoff 


100% 






2/8CavBn 


US Sanctuary 


50% 






3/18ArtBn 


US Sanctuary 


100% 






A/l/9Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


100% 






B/l/9Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


100% 






C/ 1/9 Aircav 


US Sanctuary 


100% 






lslTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 






2ndTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 






3rdTFS 


US Sanctuary 


50% 






A/2/20 Aer Art 


US Sanctuary 


50% 






B/2/20 Aer Art 


US Sanctuary 


50% 




11/10/65 n 


1st ARVN RngBn 


Due Co 


50% 






2nd ARVN RngBn 


Due Co 


50% 






3rd ARVN RngBn 


Due Co 


50% 






IslARVNRccon 


Due Co 


50% 




11/11/65 m 


7th Bomb Wing 


US Sanctuary 


100% 





Abbreviations: 

Art Bn = Artillery Battalion 

Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion 

Acav Sq = Armored Cavalry Squadron 

Aircav = Aircav Troop 

TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron 

Aer Art = Aerial Artillery Company 



RngBn = Ranger Battalion (airmobile) 

Reeon = Reconnaissance Batalion (airmobile) 

Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing 

SE = Southeast 

n, m = noon, midnight 



Special Rules: To reflect the capture of a map containing NVA deployments on 
November 1, most NVA units will briefly become visible to the American player on 
November 2. 

Commanding the US/ ARVN 

This scenario contain.' i balanced force, with which you should employ tactics from 
web. of the preceeding three as appropriate. The best way to prepare for this is to read the 
"Commanding the US/ARVN" section in each, and apply the advice to the appropriate 
forces. Beyond this, you should seek to create true combined arms tactics, For example, you 
might want to use airmobile infantry to envelope an NVA unit being attacked by one of 



69 



your armored cavalry squadrons. Or, you might try deliberately putting your light infantry 
in an exposed position, and then when the NVA attack it, suddenly helicopter your airmobile 
troops to its rescue. You should experiment with these and other tactics, trying to maximize 
the contribution of each element while compensating for its weaknesses with the others. 



TlieNVA 

NVA Objectives 

Initially, you are to defeat the ARVN relief force and seize Plei Me. If US forces appear, 
you are to immediately withdraw and then harass them, inflicting maximum casualties 
while minimizing your own. You should also seek to maintain a presence in the la Drang 
valley. 

Victory Conditions: You will win if you can keep the US/ARVN from gaining 
100 Victory Points -more than you while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least 
one US/ARVN casualty for every four of your own. There is no automatic victory in 
this variant. 

NVA Scenario Information 
Start October 23, 1965 
End: November 15, 1965 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Sufficient 
Off-map Supply. Northwest and West 
Replacements: 1 50 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 



Reinforcements 








Date Time 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 




11/2/65 m 


H-15VCInfBn 


WofChuPong 


50% 




11/2/65 m 


1/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






2/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






3/66 Inf Bn 


Cambodia 


50% 






66th Mort Cc 


Cambodia 


50% 






IndMortCo 


Cambodia 


50% 






IndAABn 


Cambodia 


50% 




Abbreviations: 










VC = Viet Cong 




Ind = Independent 






Inf Bn = Infantry Battalion 


AA Bn = Anti-aircraft Battalion 




W = West 




m = midnight 






Mort Co = Mortar Company 









Special Rules None 

Commanding the NVA 

Like the American commander, you will find that his force mix requires you to borrow 
ideas from all three of the preceeding variants. If you have not read the "Commanding 
the NVA" sections, do so now, and draw ideas from each to contend with the different 
elements of his brigade. However, remember that the mix is different than each of the 
elements, and strategjsms that work against a homogeneous force may not work against 
a heterogeneous one. Like your foe, you must innovate to find the right combination of 
tactics to fit the situation. 






70 



GAME THREE 
THE TOE TURNS: KHE SANH, 1968 

Historical Background: 

War American Style 

America's victory in the la Drang valley dramatically turned the tide of war. Before the 
battle, American policymakefs worried how long the South could hold out Afterwaids they 
began to draw up timetables for victory. 

The American's new confidence reflected not just their technological superiority, but 
also the overwhelming numbeis of men and machines they were bringing to bear. By the end 
of 1965 America had committed 180,000 troops; by the end of 1966 the total exceeded 
420,000; and it rose by another 100,000 before the escalation came to an end. 

With them the Americans brought a panopoly of modem machinery, from helicopters 
and tanks to refrigeratofs and automated warehouses. They created huge bases for their 
aircraft and logistical services, complete with everything from oil tank farms to swimming 
pools and lawn sprinklers. It was war on an expense account, and it had serious effects on 
both the American and Vietnamese economies. 

This massive support network backed up an incredible array of modem military might 
Soldiers patrolled carrying a new, light weight rifle made from space-age plastics. Armored 
personnel carriers sporting multiple machine-guns behind specially created gun-shields 
served as assault vehicles, while armored, self-propelled artillery crawled along jungle trails 
to offer fire support In the waterlogged Mekong Delta an entire infantry division was 
equipped for riverine operations with boats ranging from rubber dingies and assault landing 
craft to monitors and barracks ships. Helicopters served everywhere and as everything from 
ambulances to gunships, but most especially as a transport for soldiers, artillery, and supplies. 
Overhead, jet aircraft rained a hail of bombs on both South and North Vietnam. Giant 

B-52 intercontinental bombers Dew 
thousands of miles from Okinawa 
and Guam to drop scores of 750- 
pound bombs with pin-point 
accuracy. Smaller fighter-bombers 
flew from bases in South Vietnam, 
Thailand, and aircraft carriers off- 
shore to attack strategic targets and 
provide tactical air support Converted 
transports dumped tons of defoliants 
on the jungle to deny the enemy its 
cover, while other planes seeded the 
clouds to make rain that would 
hinder enemy movements. Most 
impressive to many soldiers were the 
"Spookies" old C-47's with the 
cargo bay doors removed. These 
slowly circled American positions at 
night dropping million candle-power 
flares and literally hosing down the 
landscape with three miniguns that 
fired 1 8,000 rounds per minute. 



KHE SANH 
ANDVIETNAM 
1967-1968 




71 



At closer quarters, Army Green Berets and Navy SEALS adopted and refined the 
enemy's terrorist tactics, combining centuries-old martial arts with the latest James Bond 
style spy technology. Meanwhile intelligence technicians in air-conditioned offices 
monitored electronic sensors scattered along the infiltration routes through Laos and 
Cambodia known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, directing the fires of long range artillery and 
aircraft on unseen enemy columns. Other technicians worked to create a computerized 
ID system intended to keep tabs on the entire South Vietnamese population. 

This last effort was doubly necessary because the escalating scale of military and civic 
actions was uprooting a sizeable proportion of the South Vietnamese population. At the 
same time, the ocean of wealth the Americans brought caused an unprecedented upheaval 
in South Vietnamese society. Millions of Vietnamese fled or were forced out of the country- 
side and as they Docked to the cities they discovered a new world. Money was easily made 
by hook or by crook, and could buy an incredible variety of consumer luxuries unthinkable 
a few years before. Unlike France, which had fought at arms length, the America embraced 
Vietnam in a bear hug of reformist zeal. 

Genera] Westmoreland, commander of this vast juggernaut, estimated that if 
Washington gave him free reign, the issue would be settled by the beginning of 1 968. 

However, while Westmoreland had a blank check fom Secretary of Defense McNamara 
to request whatever troop levels and material were necessary from a purely military point of 
view, he did not have the same freedom diplomatically. Fearing that moves into Laos and 
Cambodia would trigger a war with Red China, Washington denied him permission to 
send his soldiers into Communist sanctuary areas along the border. 

Therefore, Westmoreland pursued a strategy of attrition. While ARVN units guarded 
the heavily populated coastal lowlands, American units took the fight into Communist 
base areas in the remote jungles and mountains. The goal of these "Search and Destroy" 
missions was primarily to bring the enemy to battle and secondarily to destroy the facilities 
and supplies in the base camps. The word came to have more ominous connotations when 
the Americans moved into more populous provinces to root out the military support 
network the Communists had created within the peasantry. Strongly pro-communist areas 
were designated "free-fire zones" in which anything that moved could be killed and anything 
that didn't could be blown up or burned down. 

Whether out in the "boonies" or in amongst the "villes", American operations centered 
on aggressive patrolling, vertical envelopment, and overwhelming fire support When acting 
on concrete intelligence, one unit would generally move overland into the area of enemy 
activity while several others would be lifted into blocking positions on likely routes of retreat. 
Far more often, however, the Americans simply sent patrols out in regular search patterns 
to find and fix the enemy so that artillery in nearby firebases and aircraft on station overhead 
could deliver their lethal loads. It was a brutal game of cat and mouse, with American 
infantry acting as live bait 




DAY: 9 
CODEATTLEBORO 



The American war effort cost an enormous amount billions of American dollars spent, 
millions of Vietnamese lives destroyed or uprooted, thousands of American boys shipped 
home in body bags. The results were difficult to gauge. By American standards we were 
winning. The statistics on tons of supplies captured, miles of roads cleared, numbers of 
villages secured, and of course the all important body count of enemy dead all pointed at 
the same conclusion. However, critics of the war and increasingly members of the policy- 
making establishment in Washington questioned whether these statistics meant anything 
against an enemy operating from a secure base, backed by two great powers (China and 
Russia) only too happy to supply the wherewithal of war, and led by men who had been 
fighting for forty years. As the war moved into its third year, America remained optimistic, 
but the signs of strain were beginning to appear. 

The Communist Response 

The North Vietnamese, for their part, funnelled increasing numbers of troops down the 
Ho Chi Minh Trail to match American escalations, and they and the Viet Cong adapted as 
best they could to the new warfare. In part they perfected old tactics: Americans encountered 
mines and booby-traps far more often than enemy soldiers, and most shooting engagements 
began with an ambush by a sniper or small detachment- Even more than before, the 
Communists would seek to inflict casualties and then break contact quickly, before the shells 
and bombs began to arrive. Similarly, mortars and rockets would send a quick shower 
of explosives into an American position and then displace before their position erupted 
inflames. 

Beyond these tried and proven techniques, the NVA and VC created a new set of tactics 
designed for the new war. Probable helicopter landing zones were studded with obstacles 
to catch rotors or ensnare debarking troops. If units were too heavily engaged to withdraw, 
they deliberately drew nearer to the Americans, knowing that the artillery would not shell 
their own troops. In other circumstances, knowing the American preoccupation with body 
counts, the NVA would have one or two men move in the open, inviting the American to 
shoot at them. Then, when the excited Americans rushed into the kill-zone to count the 
bodies, hidden VC would open fire, more than evening the score. 

One of the most important Communist innovations was a vast extension of the tunnel 
networks underneath their base areas. During the French war, the Viet Minh had excavated 
shelters underneath friendly villages, where they would store supplies and hide when French 
soldiers appeared. Against the Americans' massive bomber fleet and sophisticated surveillance 
devices the tunnels provided some measure of protection, and as the pressure on the base 
areas built, the tunnels became longer and deeper. Some of the bases became literal ant-hills, 
with tunnels fifteen miles long and too deep for even B-52 strikes to destroy. Often, when 
the Americans launched one of their huge offensives, the Communists scurried underground, 
where they could hide out or make their way to safely. Some GI's, known as "tunnel rats", 
specialized in exploring the mazes, and American engineers developed a variety of tech- 
niques to deal with the tunnels, including smoke, explosives, and poison gas. The true 
extent of the tunnel systems and the impact made by the Americans will not be known until 
North Vietnam opens its archives, if any records exist, but the evidence suggests that they 
were extremely extensive, and that Americans were not able to seriously threaten them. 

By these and a thousand other tactics the Communists bled the Americans and kept 
the war going. If they could not beat the US forces in open battle, they could generally avoid 
open battle and thus could avoid defeat in the war. They suffered horrendous casualties, 
but they inflicted serious losses in return. And the Communists, fighting (as they saw it) 
to liberate their homeland, were willing to accept the carnage. The Americans, fighting for 

73 



the more abstract concepts of anti -communism, national honor, and geopolitical advantage, 
were less certain of the price they were willing to pay. The South Vietnamese, the objects of 
this escalating conflict, appear to have had little idea why they were fighting at all. 

The Opposing Strategies 

By mid-1967 the American command, flush with statistical success, exuded optimism. 
Westmoreland knew that the war was far from won, but he felt that we were winning. 
Consequently, all that was needed in his estimation was more of the same: more troops, 
more bombs, and more technology. These would in tum produce more: more miles of road 
open, more villages secured, more enemy soldiers killed. The previous two years had 
produced some hard fighting and a lot of frustration, but the end seemed to be a matter of 
time, money, and manpower. 

The North Vietnamese leadership was divided over the best course of action for its 
forces. One group, led by party lheoritician Truong Chinh, argued that the war should be 
scaled back, that the leaders of a protracted war must allow for ebbs as weE as flows. General 
Nguyen Chi Thanh, the commander of the forces in the South, seconded him. He knew first 
hand the terrifying power of the American juggernaut; he had endured mainly defeat and 
retreat for over a year, and had seen his ranks decimated in a monsterous game of chicken. 
Better to let the Americans tire of an endless guerrilla war, they argued, and then overturn 
the weak running dogs in Saigon once the Americans were gone. 

Other members of the ruling circles opposed this approach. They, too, recognized that 
the batde of attrition was going against them, that the Americans were indeed beginning to 
kill North Vietnamese soldiers faster than they could be replaced. But, lead by the venerable 
Minister of War Giap, they argued that North Vietnam should undertake a bold offensive to 
defeat the Americans quickly. They held that time was not on North Vietnam's side in a 
protracted war. America was gradually if clumsily gaining control over the Southern 
population through a combination of military force, clandestine operations, civic action, 
social upheaval, economic penetration, and cultural osmosis. If left alone, South Vietnam 
might well go the way of Taiwan and South Korea. By the time the Americans were gone, 
the ruling elite would be firmly entrenched in a westernized, rapidly modernizing state. 
And by that time, they, the aging leaders of the original revolution, would be dead, 

Giap proposed instead to deliver a body blow that would shake South Vietnam to its 
core. Since the early days of the French war, he had always pushed to move beyond guerrilla 
tactics to the third phase of revolutionary war, conventional confrontation. Several times 
he had been bloodied, but eventually his determination had paid off at Dien Bien Phu. 
Now, once again, he pressed for a grab at decisive victory. The politbureau endorsed his 
plan in the Spring of 1967. Ironically his victory was sealed that summer when General 
Tanh was killed in a B-52 strike. 

The Battle of KheSanh 
KheSanh Besieged 

In October of 1967, Giap launched phase one of his plan. North Vietnamese forces 
besieged and assaulted an American garrison at Con Thien, but were repulsed by a wall of 
expertly massed firepower. Next, North Vietnamese stormed Loc Ninh and Song Be near 
Saigon. Westmoreland shifted units from the north and bitter fighting raged until the end of 
November. Meanwhile, the NVA attacked Dak To, drawing much of two divisions and 
the entire 173rd Airborne Brigade into a ferocious 22 day battle. Then, in December, the 
Communists initiated the most massive battle ever fought in the Delta . 

74 



In January, the climax of Phase One began in the northwestern comer of South Vietnam. 
The US Marines had established a Combat Base at Khe Sanh, like Dien Bien Phu a remote 
outpost astride an important infiltration route. Like Dien Bien Phu, Khe Sanh was to serve 
as a forward base for patrols and aircraft to interdict these routes. Like Dien Bien Phu, 
Khe Sanh was surrounded by high mountains, and was soon besieged and cut off. Like 
Dien Bien Phu, Khe Sarin's outer fortresses on sunounding hEls were the first targets of 
attacks, and as at Dien Bien Phu one of the besieging Communist divisions was the elite 
304 th. 

Beginning with the Brst NVA attacks on January 21, 1968, General Westmoreland, 
President Johnson, and eventually the whole American public became mesmerized by the 
valiant stand by the beleagured band of 6,000 Marines. 

Westmoreland, like Navarre fifteen years before him, regarded the siege as an oppor- 
tunity to use his superior firepower to break the enemy's back in a conventional confron- 
tation. He was confident that the Marines, who unlike the French held both a relatively 
high plateau and the high ground overlooking it, would be able to hold out, given the 
massive air transport, artillery, and bombing resources available to them. 

All these strengths notwithstanding, though. President Johnson lived in anguish that 
the base would fall, perhaps because he himself had been so instrumental in blocking 
American intervention to save Dien Bien Phu. He had a model of the base constructed in 
the basement of the White House, where he would brood about it at night. He received 
daily briefings on the situation and even demanded a written guarantee from the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff that the fortress would not tall. 

Finally, the American public became entranced as nightly newscasts beamed pictures 
of the shell-rocked base and the frantic efforts to supply it. Gritty Marine riflemen, space 
age bombing technology, and the prospect of screaming waves of fanatical orientals: Khe 
Sanh had it all. For day after day, the garrison, the Saigon command, the White House, 
and the American public waited in growing suspense, wondering when the blow would fall. 
Every day hidden guns pounded the base, while anti-aircraft guns contested the skies above 
it. Electronic sensors confirmed the presence of large bodies of enemy soldiers in the hills 
and jungles. Somewhere out there, the enemy was massing. Sometime soon, the enemy 
must strike. 

IMPORTANT NOTE; Uncertainty about the enemy's objectives played a crucial role 
in the battle for Khe Sanh. IN ORDER TO PLAY AN HISTORICALLY ACCURATE 
GAME, YOU ARE ADVISED TO PLAY AMERICAN SIDE OF VARIANT ONE 
BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER 

The Blow 

Ten days after the siege began, the enemy did strike. 

However, they did not strike at Khe Sanh. Carefully choosing the first day of Tet, 
Vietnam's most important holiday and traditionally the occasion for a brief truce, the 
Communists launched an ambitious offensive against towns and cities up and down the 
length of the South Vietnam. Over a three day period Viet Cong urban cells and VC 
regulars infiltrated in from the countryside staged a series of revolts intended to spark a 
general uprising. 

The North Vietnamese army provided some shock troops, but generally remained in 
the background, ready to reinforce successes and deal with those ARVN units that did not 
disintegrate in the expected political upheaval. The blow, if successful, would confront 
the Americans with the political and military collapse of their ostensible host. They would, 

75 



in Hanoi's calculations, have no.choice but to negotiate and withdraw. 

While the offensive was a master-stroke that caught the Americans and South 
Vietnamese completely off guard, it completely failed to achieve its objectives. The South 
Vietnamese people did not rise up, the ARVN did not collapse, and almost everywhere the 
insurgents were quickly routed, with terrible casualties. Westmoreland, who at first 
regarded the attacks as a diversion from Khe Sanh, was soon elated by the strength allied 
forces had shown and the damage they had dealt the enemy. He requested permission to 
pursue the beaten foe into his sanctuaries, and for 200,000 more men with which to do it. 

His request for yet more men, and a yet wider war, caused a crisis in Washington. The 
Army in Vietnam could only be brought up to that strength by mobilizing the reserves. This 
move would be economically disruptive and politically difficult, since it would have drawn 
in family men who could vote. Difficult at any time, such a move was clearly impossible 
amidst the gathering storm of controversy over the war. While the military regarded the 
Tet Offensive as a notable victory, the press and public were shocked that an ememy 
thought to be on the ropes could mount such a huge offensive. A squad of VC had attacked 
the American embassy in Saigon, and the ancient citadel at Hue fell to enemy attackers 
who then held out for two months. The bitter house-to-house fighting only came to an 
end when US artillery and aircraft reduced the ancient monument to rubble. For many 
Americans, including many of the policymakers who had led the country into war, that 
battle epitomized the hopelessness of a war that was destroying the very things it sought 
to save. 

The anti-war movement in America had been growing steadily since the beginning of 
American involvement, but until the Tet Offensive it had had little impact on policy. Now, 
with the military's claims of imminent victory belied by the enemy's attacks, many more 
Americans began to question whether the war was right. Many opinion leaders in the press 
and in public life turned against the constant escalations, and advocated instead a negotiated 
settlement. This shift climaxed when the man who had overseen the military effort. 
Secretary of Defense McNamara, resigned. His replacement, Johnson's old friend and 
confidant Qark Gifford, was at the time and had always been a staunch supporter of the 
war. However, when he ordered a thoroughgoing analysis of the situation, what he learned 
changed hi* mind. The situation was bleak. Even with the additional troops there was no 
guarantee that the outlook would improve any time soon, for the NVA had been largely 
unscathed in Tet, except for a measured outpouring of blood in the peripheral battles. 

On March 12, avowed peace candidate Eugene McCarthy nearly tied President 
Johnson in the bell-weather primary in New Hampshire. Soon Robert Kennedy took up 
the peace banner, and Johnson saw his political position unravel. And still, he had not 
made up his mind about the requested reinforcements. He commissioned a blue ribbon 
panel with venerable military figures like Matthew Ridge way and Omar Bradley and elder 
statesmen like Dean Acheson and George Ball. They were briefed by experts from the 
CIA, the State Department, and the Pentagon. After the panel delivered its verdict, 
Johnson interrogated the men who had briefed it. Despite the favorable kill-ratios and the 
miles of highways cleared, there was no end in sight. 

On March 22, Johnson announced the long planned transfer of General Westmoreland 
back to Washington. With his departure in June would come the end of the big unit battles 
of attrition. On March 3 1 , Khe Sanh, which had endured 77 tense and on a few occasions 
intense days of shelling and siege, was relieved. That evening, President Johnson went on 
television to announce a freeze on troop levels, a limit on the air war against North Vietnam, 
and an overture to the Communist regime to negotiate a settlement He also announced 
that he would not seek a second term as President 

76 



Giap's offensive had failed to shatter South Vietnam's shaky government," but it had 
shaken America to its core. It was the decisive battle that turned the tide of the war. 

Guide to the Game 

In The Tide Turns: Khe Sank, 1968, you control the forces in the crucial northern province, 
Quang Tri. As the US/ARVN commander you command the Third Marine Division 
guarding the DMZ, along with the Khe Sanh combat base and miscellaneous ARVN units. 
As NVA commander you lead the divisions besieging Khe Sanh, those along the DMZ, and 
those which will deliver the Tet offensive in the area. The stakes are high: the war may be 
won or lost in a day. 

The Variants consist of the historical situation (variant one) plus a series of unidentified 
variants. These contain different NVA deployments for the Tet Offensive. It is recommended 
that you play the American in variant one before reading about the other variants. 

Thereafter, you should play the NVA in the historical situation, and then go on to the 
random variants. You can play them in any order you choose, taking the American side 
first, and then later try the NVA. There are three possible situations in variants two through 
four, and the fifth randomly picks one of them, so you can play the US/ARVN with 
uncertainty about NVA intentions as many times as you like. 

VARIANT ONE 

The Historical Situation 

Introduction 

In this variant the two antagonists square off for the show-down using their historical 
deployments and strategies. Both sides knew that something decisive was about to happen, 
and both did their best to position themselves for the moment of crisis. The eyes of the world 
focused on the beleagured garrison of Khe Sanh, and held its breath waiting for the onslaught 
to begin. 

The US/ARVN 

US/ARVN Objectives 

As commander of the American and South Vietnamese forces in Quang Tri province, 
you are responsible for the security of the population and the defense of the border from 
infiltration or invasion. Most of all, though, you must maintain the combat base at Khe Sanh. 
Everyone up the Chain of Command to the President himself is breathing down your neck. 
If you blow it there, America will lose its first war and your career will be shot. 

Victory Conditions: You must prevent the NVA from gaining 50 or more Victory 
Points, while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of three NVA for every one of your own. 
You cannot win an automatic decisive victory, but beware: the NVA can by capturing any 
critical location. 

US/ARVN Variant Information 
Start lam, January 21, 1968 
End: 6 pm, February 4, 1 968 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply: Ample 
Off-map Supply: East 

Replacements: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 

77 



Reinforcements: 






Dale Time 


UrrJt 


Location 


Probability 


1/23/68 m 


lslUSNFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




2ndUSNFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




4thUSAFFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




SthUSAFFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




1st Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




2nd Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




3rd Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 


2/1/68 n 


A/2/20 Aer Art 


US Sanctuary 


100% 


Abbreviations: 








USN = USNavy 




Bomb Wng ■ Bomber Wing 


USAF= US Air Force 


Aer Art = Aerial Artillery Battery 


FS = (Tactical) Fighter Squadron 


m,n = midnight, noon 





Special Rules: 

1 . To reflect the extensive use of electronic sensors by the Americans, some hidden NVA 
units will be revealed during the course of play. 

2. Due to the size of the battle area, it is recommended that players with Commodore, 
Atari, and IBM computers move the cursor with the keyboard's fast cursor controls rather 
than a joystick. 

Commanding the US/ ARVN 

As the US/ ARVN commander, you must balance off the competing requirements of 
garrisoning the populous lowlands, defending the DMZ, and maintaining the Combat Base 
at Khe Sanh. Because of the politial implications of either a successful incursion across ihe 
border or the fall of Khe Sanh, higher headquarters has placed severe restrictions on your 
freedom to use your maneuver elements. On the other hand, because of the importance of 
your area, it has allocated you massive air support. You will have to choose where to commit 
your ground reserves carefully, and rely on airstrikes wherever possible. Fortunately, your 
Marines arc crack troops and are well fortified. You have enough resources to do your job, 
but you must manage them carefully. 

The NVA: 



WARNING: In order to play an historically valid game, DO NOT READ THE FOLLOW- 
ING INFORMATION UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE PLAYED THE VARIANT AS 
THE AMERICAN COMMANDER 



NVA Objectives 

Your mission is to develop a double diversion in the northernmost region of South 
Vietnam in preparation for the nationwide offensive at Tet. The lesser of the two efforts is 
to be a series of maneuvers along the DMZ, to tie down the American and South Vietnamese 
units there and distract the enemy's attention. The primary diversionary effort, however, 
is the siege of Khe Sanh, which should become the focus of the enemy's activity. Because 
these are only diversions, however, you should carry out these actions with minimum 
casualties-. 

These activities should occupy the enemy until the beginning of TeL Then shift your 
focus to your part in the offensive, which is an attack on Quang Tri City. Historically, the 

78 




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79 



attack failed, although successes elsewhere in South Vietnam more than made up for it. 
Can you make it work? 

Victory Conditions: You must gain at least 50 Victory Points, while maintaining 
a favorable casualty ratio by suffering fewer than three losses for each you inflict. You can 
gain an automatic decisive victory by capturing any one of the three critical locations: 
Quang Tri, Dong Ha, or Khe Sanh. 

NV A Scenario Information 

Start January 21 ,1968 

End: February 4, 1968 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resuppry Rale: Ample 

Off-map Supply: North and South 

Replacement Rate: 1 25 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: In order to keep you from noticing where the NVA reinforcements 
appear if you were leaGng through the book before playing the US/ARVN side, the 
reinforcement schedule for the NVA forces is given in paragraph form for this variant. 

Your forces for the Tet Offensive appear on January 30. They consist of the 1st, 2nd, 
and 3rd Battalions of the 812th NVA Regiment, the 101st Sapper (assault engineer) 
Battalion, and the 1st VC Battalion, which all arrive around Quang Tri City and Mai Linh. 
The 324th Artillery Battalion (with heavy mortars and light artillery pieces) appears two 
hexes to the northeast, while the VC 2nd and 3 rd Battalions appear seven hexes to the north- 
northeast and eleven hexes to the northwest, respectively. 

Commanding the NVA 

As NVA commander in the north, you will play a crucial role in the coming showdown. 
You must balance your need to create credible distractions around Khe Sanh and along the 
DMZ against the cost in lives and equipment American airpower will exact. You should 
keep something going in each place at all times, such as long periods of shelling by artillery 
punctuated by probing attacks and feints. Never lose sight of your goal: to draw the 
US/ARVN forces away from the towns in the lowlands to give your assault elements there 
the best chance possible. You may also want to try to infiltrate additional forces to support 
your attack on the cities, although you should be careful that one doesn't stumble into the 
enemy and destroy all your careful diversions. Once your reinforcements arri ve, you should 
make an all out effort to capture their critical objective. Do not neglect to use the VC forces 
to hold up enemy reserves. 

VARIANTS TWO THROUGH FOUR 

Alternative Communist Strategies 
Introduction 

The historical attacks by the North Vietnamese in the North were consistent with their 
strategy throughout the country. However, even within that overall strategy, they could 
have chosen a different approach locally, since there were several other critical points in the 
northern front. Variants two through four allow you to explore these possibilities in a way 
that recreates the American commanders* uncertainty about Communist intentions. You 
can choose to play these variants in any order, but you are advised to play the US/ARVN 
side first. Once you have learned the various strategies, you can then go back and play as 
the NVA. 

80 



TheUS/ARVN 

US/ ARVN Objectives 

As in the historical variant, your goal in all of these variants is to protect the dues, 
defend the DMZ, and hold Khe Sanh. 

Victory Conditions You must prevent the NVA from gaining more than 50 Victory 
Points, while maintaining a casualty ratio of more than three NVA losses for each of your 
own. You cannot achieve an automatic victory, but you must watch out to prevent the 
NVA from capturing any one of the three critical locations. 

Variant Information 

Start lam, January 21, 1968 

End: 6 pm, February 4, 1968 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resuppry Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: East 

Replacements: 75 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: (see chart ) 



Reinforcements: 






Date Tune 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 


1/23/68 m 


IstUSNFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




2nd USN FS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




4thUSAFFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




5th USAF FS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




1st Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




2nd Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




3rd Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


100% 


2/1/68 n 


A/2/20 AerArt 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




B/2/20AerArt 


US Sanctuary 






2/2/68 d 


2/1 MarBn 
3/1 MarBn 


E of Mai Linh 
EofMaiUnh 






2/3/68 n 


l/7CavBn 

l/8CavBn 

A/l/9Aircav 

5th ARVN AbnBn 

2/17ArtBn 

2/19ArtBn 


WofMaiLinh 
WofMaiLinh 
WofMaiLinh 
WofMaiUnh 
WofMaiLinh 
WofMaiUnh 






•These reinforcements will only be released by higher headquarters if the strategic situation warrants 


it. The date given is the earliest they may appear. 




Abbreviations: 








USN = USNavy 




Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion 


USAF= US Air Force 


AbnBn * Airborne Battalion 


FS = (Tactical) Fighter Squadron 


AerArt = Aerial Artillery Battery 


Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing 


m, n = midnight, noon 




Mar Bn = Marine Battalion 







Special Rules: 

1 . To reflect the extensive use of electronic sensor by the Americans, some hidden NVA 
units will be revealed d urin? the course of play. 

2. Due to the size of the battle area, it is recommended that players with Commodore, 



81 



Atari, and IBM computers move the cursor with the keyboard's East cursor controls rather 
than a joystick. 

Commanding the US/ ARVN 

Your situation is the same as in the historical variant If you have not read the 
"Commanding the US/ ARVN" section for that variant, you should do so now. 

TheNVA 



WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS SECTION UNTIL YOU HAVE PLAYED THE 
US/ ARVN COMMANDER IN ALL THE VARIANTS. 

NVA Objectives 

The variants contain three different Tet attacks, so your specific objectives will vary. 
One of the situations repeats the historical strategy. A second involves an attack across the 
DMZ, aimed at the crucial river-crossing at Dong Ha. The third posits an assault on the 
Marines at Khe Sanh. 

Victory Conditions: Despite the differing objectives, your goals in each of the variants 
is the same: to capture at least 50 Victory Points while maintaining a favorable casualty 
ratio of at least one US/ ARVN for every three of your own. You can gain an automatic 
decisive victory by capturing any one of the three critical locations: Quang Tri, Dong Ha, 
or Khe Sanh. 

NVA Scenario Information 

Start January 2 1,1968 

End: February 4, 1968 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: North and South 

Replacement Rate: 1 25 men and 2 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: In order to keep you from noticing where the NVA reinforcements 
appear if you were leafing through the book before playing the US/ ARVN side, the 
reinforcement schedules for the NVA forces are given in paragraph form in these variants. 

Variant four recreates the historical attack on Quang Tri City. Your forces for the 
Tel Offensive appear on January 30. They consist of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the 
812th NVA Regiment, the 10th Sapper (assault engineer) Battalion, and the 1st VC 
Battalion, and come in around Quang Tri City and Mai Linh. The 324th Artillery Battalion 
(with heavy mortars and light artillery pieces) appears two hexes to the northeast, while the 
VC 2nd and 3 rd Battalions appear seven hexes to the north-northeast and eleven hexes to the 
northwest, respectively. 




DAY: 10 
CODE NEVADA EAGLE 



82 



Variant three presents the second possible NVA strategy, an attack across the DMZ 
against the Marine's fortified line of defense. To carry out this assault, at midnight on January 
30 the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 803rd Regiment, the two artillery battalions of the 324th 
Division, two independent tank regiments, and the two battalions of the 164th Artillery 
Regimentappear along the DMZ, with the armor coon titrated at the boundary between the 
US Marine and the ARVN positions. In ad J, Lion, ai noon on February 1st, the 2 nd battalion 
of the 803 rd will appear to the southeast of Dong Ha. 

The third possibility, presented in variant two, postulates that the expected 
attack on Khe Sanh base takes place. Reinforcements consist of the 29th, 803rd, and 8 1 2th 
Regiments (which are called battalions in the text display), along with an independent tank 
regiment. These appear adjacent to the Combat Base in an arc from the northeast to the 
southwest, with the tanks moving up the road. So be careful not to put units in these hexes, 
lest you block the reinforcements from entering. 

Special Rules None 

Commanding the NVA 

Your strategy will naturally depend on which of the three possible attacks you intend 

to make. 

If you chose the historical approach, you should follow the guidelines given for variant 
one. If you have not yet read the "Commanding the NVA" section of that variant, do 

so now. 

If you chose to attack across the DMZ, you should do everything possible to draw 
American reserves toward Khe Sanh. You could even try a feint against Quang Tri City 
a day or two before your main assault. You should also realize that you are likely to suffer 
staggering casualties from the 3 rd Marine Division and US airpower, so you should aim not 
to reduce each fortress in turn, but instead should try to infiltrate enough units through the 
line to stage an attack on Dong Ha. To do this, you can even try moving units in behind the 
Marines from the West, while using your forces in the DMZ to tie down the US/ARVN 
reserves. 

If you chose to go after the Khe Sanh, just remember to pound it with all the artillery 
you can. Try to overrun one or two of the outposts so you can mass your maximum effort 
against the base when your reinforcements appear (remember not to block their entry hexes, 
though, especially the road where the tanks appear). Then, when the new units arrive, 
attack like crazy. 

VARIANT FIVE 

The Variant Randomizer 

This variant choses one of the preceding six (variants two through seven) at random for you. 
Once you have discovered the NVA strategies, you can choose this variant to play games 
as the US/ARVN with true uncertainty about the NVA objectives. 




DAY: 11 
CODE MACON 



GAME FOUR 
EMPTY FISHHOOK: CAMBODIA, 1970 

Historical Background 

War and Politics 

Napoleon once observed: "In war, the morale is to the physical as three is to one." 
Johnson's announcement that American escalation and his own political career would end 
on the same day that the Americans "won" the battle of Khe Sanh demonstrated that 
Napoleon's dictum was as tme in 1968 as it had been in 1808. All America's battlefield 
successes had not brought victory; one weak Communist offensive had turned the tide 
of war. 

The biggest loser in 1968 was Johnson's Democratic Party. Tom between the architects 
and opponents of the war and numbed by the assassination of its leading candidate, Robert 
Kennedy, the party's fate was sealed when Democratic Mayor Daley's police viciously 
attacked anti-war demonstrators and bystanders outside the party convention in Chicago. 
Vice-President Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic nomination, but lost the election 
to Republican Richard Nixon, who ran on the promise that he had a secret plan to end 
American participation in the war on honorable terms. 

Nixon Takes Command 

Once in office, Nixon commissioned a review of American policy and then embarked 
on a three part policy to disengage with honor. The first part was to continue the negotiations 
with the Communists begun during the last days of the Johnson administration. The second 
was to gradually withdraw American troops. The third, which complemented the second, 
was to gradually turn responsibflity for the fighting over to the South Vietnamese. Thus, he 
hoped to placate the growing opposition to the war without committing himself to a policy 
that would necessarily end the war. 

Formal negotiations had begun 
on May 10, 1968, but soon degener- 
ated into endless procedural hag- 
gling. It took, for instance, seven 
months to agree on the shape of the 
table (both the Viet Cong and the 
South Vietnamese felt that to sit 
alongside their allies at a rectangular 
table would be taken as a sign 
of dependency, while neither was 
willing to concede the other the 
legitimacy a square would have 
conferred). To break this tog-jam, 
Nixon had his national security 
advisor, Henry Kissinger, meet 
secretly with a senior official in the 
North Vietnamese government, 
Le Due Tho. The two principals 
talked more freely during these 
meetings, but they, like the formal 
sessions, dragged on. The Americans 
wanted to settle, but for moral and 




84 



geopolitical reasons refused to accept conditions they felt would look like they were dumping 
the South Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese were just playing for time. 

The reason the North Vietnamese played for time at the talks is that Nixon's second 
policy was steadily reducing the number of American troops, and with them the Allies' 
battlefield superiority. Emergency reinforcements after Tet brought American troops levels 
to a high of 540,000, but by the end of 1969 the total had dropped to 485,000, and they 
would fall to 335,000 by the end of 1970. Coupled with the powerful air forces and 
bountiful logistical apparatus, the American army was still a considerable force, but its 
aggressiveness began to decline as it ceased to pursue victory. 

The third part of Nixon's program, "Vietnamization," slowly but surely turned over to 
the South Vietnamese responsibility for the war. The ARVN ground and VN AF air forces 
expanded and adopted modem equipment from the departing Americans, while the South 
Vietnamese logistical and specialized services were modernized. While corruption and 
political favoritism continued to plague the Southern war effort, its armed forces were 
becoming for the first time a considerable factor on the battlefield. 

u Vielnamization" of the war was helped gready by the fact that during the lull following 
the Tet Offensive South Vietnam made significant strides toward consolidating as a state. 
The enemy's all-out attack had destroyed the Viet Cong as a military force: NVA soldiers 
manned the divisions that were ostensibly VC. America's campaign of attrition, while not 
decisive, had hurt the North Vietnamese Army very badly as well. Mostly it hovered along 
the borders near its sanctuaries. Support for the Communists ran too deep to eradicate in 
some provinces, but in most the people began to make their peace with the South 
Vietnamese government. Communist atrocities in Hue while they controlled it had 
disillusioned many Vietnamese, and the American's departure increased the government's 
stature as an independent entity. What opposition remained was ruthlessly suppressed by 
the Phoenix program, a joint CIA and military campaign of assassination and terror. The 
Americans and South Vietnamese government appeared to be gaining the upper hand 
once again. 

Cambodia and Vietnam 

The only cloud on the horizon was the continued presence of the NVA along the border. 
Despite the increasing ARVN strength, the NVA was still a more formidable force. Man 
for man and unit for unit it was superior, and it was numerically as strong. Given that a 
numerical advantage of three to one is generally needed to sustain an offensive in conven- 
tional war and ten to one is held to be essential to win a guerilla war, the NVA clearly posed 
a mortal danger to the South Vietnamese. 

Cognizant of this danger, the American forces continued to seek batde. They actually 
staged more operations than before Tet, although these were generally on a smaller scale. 
Despite their exertions, though, they seldom brought the enemy to battle. Just as Giap was 
willing to sacrifice the Viet Cong military structure in the Tet Offensive, he was willing to 
sacrifice its political apparatus during the American withdrawal. He calculated that if the 
NVA was destroyed, the Communists would eventually lose even if the VC survived, while 
if the VC disappeared the Comm unists could still wi n as long as the NVA.survived. 

Frustrated, Nixon authorized increasing military action against the Communist base 
areas in neutral territory. In March, 1 969, American warplanes began an intensive bombing 
campaign, which was kept secret for political and diplomatic reasons. These failed to disrupt 
the NVA, however, because ihey simply moved deeper into Cambodia. Their presence 
became more and more of a challenge to the Cambodian government, and so in early 1 970 
the neutralist Prince Sihanouk went to Moscow to try to get Russia to pressure the North 

85 



Vietnamese to withdraw. While he was gone, his long-time aide, General Lon Nol, staged 
a coup and installed a more strongly anti-Communist government America sent money 
and aims, and fighting between the Cambodian army and the NVA increased. 

In late April Nixon decided to make a bold move: a ground attack by US and ARVN 
forces against the NVA bases in Cambodia. American troops would generally spearhead the 
advance, but would remain close to the border, while ARVN units would range more 
deeply. The major objectives were the area known as the "Parrot's Beak" near Saigon, 
the Mekong River and Highway 1 between the border and Phnom Penh, the Cambodian 
capital, and the "Fishhook" region northwest of Saigon. The Parrot's Beak was the major 
Communist staging area for attacks into the populous southern provinces and Saigon. The 
river and highway were essential lines of supply for the Cambodian government The 
Fishhook was a major base area and suspected location of COSVN, the Communist 
headquarters for South Vietnam. Other operations were launched against smaller base 
camps. Together, these moves were intended to destroy the Communist ability to stage 
offensives for a vital year or two. 

Overall, the invasion, or incursions as the diplomats preferred to call them, went well. 
15,000 American and 5,000 ARVN troops began moving across the border on April 29, 
and overran the border sanctuaries against fairly light opposition. Nixon limited the 
Americans to an area witin 20 miles of the border, and promised that they would remain 
in the country no later than June 30. The ARVN forces, eventually reinforced to 40,000 
men, pushed more deeply, clearing the river and highway to Phnom Phen. Other deep 
South Vietnamese drives faltered, but these reverses seemed unimportant compared to the 
successes. The Americans and ARVN had captured huge amounts of supplies, destroyed 
much of the enemy's physical plant, and killed thousands of enemy soldiers. The NVA 
would not be able to undertake a significant offensive for at least a year. 

The Battle of the Fishhook 

The Fishhook operation began with an intensive air and artillery bombardment. Thereafter, 
ARVN paratroopers helicoptered into positions north of the suspected Communist base, 
while American armored cavalry moved up from the Southeast and airmobile infantry 
and mechanized forces attacked from the southwest. ARVN armored cavalry and infantry 
patrolled to the east It was a prototypical operation, differing only in scale from the smaU 
unit actions that took place daily all over Vietnam. 

WARNING: Surprise was an important element in the Fishhook operation. IN ORDER 
TO PLAY AN HISTORICALLY ACCURATE GAME, YOU ARE ADVISED TO PLAY 
THE AMERICAN SIDE OF VARIAN T ONE BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER. 

The operation met with mixed success. Despite the obvious need for surprise to catch 
COSVN, the operation got under way two days after the Erst incursions to the south. Not 
surprisingly, the attackers did not find COSVN, although how much difference the delay 




*=- DAY: 12 

CODE HENDERSON HILL 



86 



made is not known. Otherwise, the Americans crushed what little opposition the NVA 
put up and discovered huge amounts of supplies. One base area to the northwest of the 
initial objective was so vast the American troops dubbed it "The City." In all, the Americans 
captured enough heavy weapons to arm 33 Communist battalions, and enough small arms 
to equip them plus 22 more. COSVN escaped and few NVA were killed, but the operation 
had sol dealt the NVA a heavy blow. 

In the United Slates, the Cambodian incursions stirred up a hornet's nest. Anti-war 
protests broke out across the country, culminating in the shooting deaths of four teenagers 
at Kent State University by National Guardsmen. Even the war's supporters were shocked 
by the tragedy, and the country was convulsed by protests. The killings at Kent State 
symbolized the gulf that had come to divide America. 

The big losers from the invasion, though, were the Cambodians. Having maintained 
a precarious neutrality for 15 years, the Cambodian government was now fully involved, 
and as America disengaged from Southeast Asia, Lon Nol gradually lost control of the 
country to the NVA and the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian Communists. Once victorious, 
the Khmer Rouge murdered 2,000,000 people through executions, forced migrations, and 
slave labor. Eventually the Vietnamese intervened and imposed a client government, but this 
started a guerrilla war that continues to this day. Once signifying a peaceful backwater, 
"Cambodia" has become another name for atrocity. 

Guide to the Game 

In Empty Fishhook, you command the American or North Vietnamese during what is, 
except for its political importance, a typical Search and Destroy mission. It differs little except 
in scale from the huge, multi-divisional operations of the late sixties and the small-unit 
sweeps conducted all over Vietnam each day throughout the war. Whether executed by 
platoons or brigades, the principle was the same: airmobile infantry helicoptered into 
blocking positions while ground troops pushed into a suspected enemy concentrations. 
When they flushed out some NVA, they would call in the firepower, and afterwards move 
through and count the bodies. Sometimes the Communists reacted violently, harassing the 
Americans or digging in and defending stubbornly. Mostly, though, the American "grunts" 
just moved through empty jungle, discovering an occasional supply cache and smoking 
out tunnels. 

Empty Fishhook 's variants enable you to command in all these situations and experience 
the uncertainty that faced American commanders in each one. The first variant is historical, 
recreating North Vietnamese deployments as they were. Variants two through seven contain 
different Communist deployments, which as the American commander you cannot see until 
your forces search for them. After you play each one, you can try it as the NVA commander. 
Once you have played all of them, you can select variant eight, which will randomly choose 
from the previous seven. 




DAY: 13 
CODE MASHER 



87 



VARIANT ONE 

The Historical Variant 

Introduction 

In this variant you face the same situation as the historical commaders. Since the 
Americans at the time were very uncertain about what they would find, it is recommended 
that you play the Americans before reading about or playing the NVA 

TheUS/ARVN 

US/ ARVN Objectives 

As commander of the US/ ARVN task force in the Fishhook region, you are to cross 
the border, sweep the suspected base areas, eliminate all enemy resistance, destroy COSVN, 
the Communist command structure, and secure ail base enemy facilities. 

Victory Conditions: You must capture and maintain control of Victory Point locations, 
and destroy.base complexes and COSVN units worth 300 Victory Points while maintaining 
a favorable casualty ratio of four NVA for every one of your own. There are no automatic 
victory conditions in this variant. 






US/ ARVN Scenario Information 

Starting Dale: 1 lam, May 1, 1970 
End Date 6 pm, May 6, 1970 
Initial Suppry: Ample 
Resuppty Rate: Ample 

Replacement Rate: 65 men and 10 heavy weapons each week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 



Reinforcements: 

Date Time Unit 



Location 



Probability 



5/3/70 n 2/5CavBn 

2/7CavBn 
2/8CavBn 
2/19ArtBn 

Abbreviations: 

Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion 



US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 



50% 
50% 
50% 
50% 



Art Bn = Artillery Battalion n = noon 



Special Rules None 

Commanding the Americans 

As the operation opens, your forces are deployed in a cordon around the objective area. 
You need only move your mechanized units north toward the ARVN paratroopers that 
have just helicoptered into blocking positions across the border. As these pincers close, the 




DAY: 14 
CODE: CEDAR FALLS 




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US SANCTUARY 



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89 



enemy will be caught in the squeeze. Those thai get away to the north should be intercepted 
by the 1 /9 airca v, while those that move east will run into the ARVN 1st Armored Cavalry 
Squadron. Once you have swept the objective, you should send units into the other areas 
of the map in order to search for additional base camps. Good luck and good hunting! 

The NVA 

WARNING: Uncertainty about NVA deployments played an important role in the battle. 
YOU ARE ADVISED NOT TO READ ANY FURTHER UNTIL YOU HAVE 
PLAYED THE VARIANT AS THE AMERICANS. 

NVA Objectives 

You begin with a substantial margin of victory. You will gradually lose it as the 
Americans occupy territory inside Cambodia and destroy bases and headquarters. You can 
dispute control of some areas by secredy retaking VP loca lions, but the biggest determinants 
of victory are the bases destroyed and casualty ratios. 

Victory Conditions: To win, you must limit the Americans to fewer than 300 Victory 
Points while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of one US/ARVN loss for every four 
of yours. 

NVA Variant Information 

Starting Date: 1 lam, May 1, 1970 

End Date: 6 pm, May 6, 1 970 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resuppry Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: None 

Replacement Rate: 1 25 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: None 

Special Rules: None 

Commanding me NVA 

The army high command has anticipated this move by the Americans and decided to 
avoid the blow by pulling back COSVN and most units, even though some supplies and 
facilities must be sacrificed. As rear-guard commander, you are to cause the invaders what 
casualties you can and then withdraw your forces to the north. Your task is not an easy one, 
but remember: every enemy you kill brings victory closer; every comrade's life you preserve 
will add to the next blow. 




DAY: 15 
CODE STARLIGHT 



90 



VARIANTS TWO THROUGH SEVEN 
Alternative NVA Deployments 

Introduction 

These variants contain a number of different NVA deployments that could have been 
encountered in the Fishhook operation. You are advised to play the US/ARVN first, so that 
your initial encounter with each situation will be fresh. After you have played a variant as 
the US/ARVN, you can then try it as the NVA. 

The US/ARVN 

US/ARVN Objectives 

Your situation is the same as in the historical one. You must search the area with your 
task force and destroy any NVA units, bases, and headquarters elements you encounter. 

Victory Conditions: You must capture Victory Point locations and eliminate bases and 
headquarters worth at least 300 Victory Points, while maintaining a favorable casualty 
ratio of at least four NVA for every one of your own. 

US/ARVN Variant Information 
Starting Date: 1 lam, May 1, 1970 
End Date 6 pm, May 6, 1 970 (low opposition variants) 

6 pm, May 1 2, 1 970 (high opposition variants) 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Ample 

Replacement Rate: 62 men and 1 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: (see chart) 



Reinforcements: 

Date Time Unit 


Location 


Probability 


5/3/70 n 
5/6/70 n 


2/5 Cav Bn 
2/7 Cav Bn 
2/8 Cav Bn 

2/l9ArtBn 
1st Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 
US Sanctuary 


50% 

50% 
50% 
50% 

• 


•These reinforcements will only be released by higher headquarters if the operational situation 
warrants it. 


Abbreviations: 








Cav Bn = Cavalry Battalion 
Art Bn = Artillery Battalion 


Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing 
n = noon 


Special Rules: None 







Commanding the US/ARVN 

As you begin, your situation is the same as in the historical variant. If you have not yet 
read the "Commanding the US/ARVN" section of that variant, do so now. However, the 
force you encounter may be quite different. The NVA 7th Division is known to be operating 
in the area, but what elements are in your objective are not known. Furthermore, COSVN 
may or may not be present. After you have played these variants, you will have experienced 
a cross section of operations commanded by American officers. 

9! 



The NVA 

NVA Objectives 

Your objective will vary greatly, depending on the forces at your command. If elements 
of COS VN are present, your 6rst priority is to protect them and move them from the danger 
zone. If you have a large force, you are to defend tenaciously, forcing the US/ ARVN to pay 
for every inch of territory. If you have a light force, you should harass the enemy and then 
withdraw north into sanctuary areas. 

Victory Conditions: You must prevent the US/ARVN from accumulating more than 
300 Victory Points while maintaining a favorable casualty ratio of at least one enemy for 
every four of your own. 

NVA Variant Information 

Starting Date: 1 lam, May 1, 1970 

End Date: 6 pm, May 6, 1 970 (light opposition variants) 

6 pm, May 12,1 970 (heavy opposition variants) 
Initial Supply: Ample 
Resupply Rate: Ample 

Replacement Rale: 1 25 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 
Reinforcements: None 
Special Rules None 

Commanding the NVA 

Your strategy will depend upon the variant. In the low strength variants your goal is 
similar to the historical one: cause as much damage as possible while preserving as much of 
your own force as possible. At the other extreme, if you have most or all of a division, you 
should make the Americans pay in blood for their invasion. Hunker down and fight as long 
and hard as possible, and (hen try to save the survivors. In the less extreme situations, your 
strategy should blend the two: when conditions are right, dig in your heals; when not, hit 
and run. Whenever elements of COSVN are present, you should put a high priority on 
distracting the Americans and rushing the V IPs north to your sanctuary area. 



VARIANT EIGHT 

The Variant Randomizer 

This variant will choose one of the preceeding six at random for you. Once you have 
discovered the NVA deployments in them, you can choose this variant in order to continue 
to play games as the US/ARVN with uncertainty about what you will be up against 



s£=^. 




DAY: 16 
CODE JUNCTION CITY 



92 



GAME FIVE 
FIRST CRACKS: QUANG TRI, 1972 

Historical Background 

America Bows Out 

Whatever the cost, the invasion of Cambodia did set the North Vietnamese back a year. 
Negotiations, withdrawal, and Vietnamization all proceeded apace. The negotiations got 
nowhere, for the same reasons as before: the Americans refused to blatantly cut and run, 
while the North Vietnamese saw no reason to compromise since the Americans were' 
leaving. American troop levels dropped to 335,000 by the end of 1 970, and then to 1 58,000 
by the end of 1 97 1 . The South Vietnamese armed forces continued to -xpand and modernize, 
and undertook an ambitious offensive against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. 

Morale among the remaining American troops sank in pace with their numbers. Aware 
that they were just buying time, a growing proportion rebelled against service. Many sported 
anti-war symbols and adopted the anti-Establishment views of the counter-culture that 
emerged in the late *60s at home. Discipline became lax, drug use soared, ajid race relations 
soured. In many units the officers and men shared an understanding that their primary goal 
was to minimize casualties. Officers who insisted on gung-ho spirit were sometimes killed, 
shot in the back during battle or riddled by fragments from grenades tossed into their 
quarters. 

While the role of American soldiers declined, that of its airmen, helicopter pilots, and 
supply sergeants rose. ARVN forces did increase in numbers and effectiveness, but were 
of very uneven quality and were still weakened by ethnic and political favoritism in the 
officer corps. Most of the elite units, the First Infantry Division, the Rangers, the Marines, 
and the Paratroopers, gave a good account of themselves, but other divisions performed 
poorly. All showed at least as much relia nce on artillery and air support as the Americans 

had. The militia and paramilitary 
forces were numerous and well 
equipped, but their morale, and 
hence combat effectiveness, was low. 
The Regional and Popular Forces 
were known as "Ruff/PufFs" while 
the Military Police were called 
"White Mice" after the color of their 
helmets and their general demeanor. 

Operation Lam Son 719 

The ARVNs uneven quality 
was demonstrated in 1971 in its 
biggest operation, LAM SON 719, 
the attack into Laos against the Ho 
Chi Minh Trail. Transported and 
supported by American aircraft, two 
divisions advanced slowly across the 
rugged terrain, carving out a series of 
firebases as they went. For the first 
few days the advance proceeded 
easily, but soon NVA reinforcements 



EASIER Of FENSM, 1972 




93 



arrived and resistance stiffened. American air support proved less helpful than planned 
because the ARVN*s American advisors, who had served as liaison with the pknes, could 
not enter Laos with their units. The ARVN clawed tooth and nail through the defenses to 
their objective, Tchepone, in some of the bitterest ground fighting of the war. They took 
Tchepone after a month, and scoured the area for supply dumps and transport facilities. 

When the turned to leave, though, they found their narrow corridor lined with NVA 
troops, artillery, and a sizeable force of tanks. These attacked with incredible ferocity, 
enduring staggering losses from air and ground fire to press in on the outnumbered and 
exhausted ARVN task force. Some of the South Vietnamese units disintegrated, while others 
held together precariously until American choppers came to their rescue. The operation 
succeeded in disrupting the NVA's supply lines temporarily, forestalling an offensive in 
1971 . But the rout at the end looked as bad on television as it felt in real life, and the spoiling 
attack only delayed the next North Vietnamese offensive by a few months. 

The Battle For Quang Tri 

With American troop levels down to about 1 50,000 at the end of 1 97 1 , the North Vietnamese 
seized the initiative whfle the winter monsoons kept American aircraft grounded. On 
March 30 they launched the long-awaited offensive. This time, the surprise was not its 
occurence, but its form. Along the length of the country, and especially across the Demili- 
tarized Zone dividing the two Vietnams, the NVA launched big unit conventional assaults, 
led by numerous tanks and backed by the devastating firepower of new Soviet 1 30mm field 
guns. The ARVN reeled under the blow, but with the help of American airpower repulsed 
most of the attacks. 

Along the DMZ, however, the ARVN collapsed. In the first week of fighting (he 
mechanized NVA attack broke through the border defenses, mauling the newly formed 
3rd Division. Its remnants, a Marine brigade, a new armored regiment, and some RF/PFs 
were barely able to hold at the first natural line of defense, the Cua Viet River. The command 
in Saigon rushed Rangers and Marines northwards, and the fighting bogged down. The 
NVA had difficulty coordinating their tanks and infantry, and the elite ARVN units held 
determinedly. The NVA kept up the pressure, though, and on April 28 the ARVN cracked. 
Ironically, the retreat began when a squadron of the 20th Armored Regiment began a 
planned redeployment to the rear. Unfortunately, neighboring soldiers thought that it was 
an unplanned retreat and panicked. Soon the whole line was headed backward. The 
Marines and Rangers fought a rear-guard action, but the rest of the ARVN melted away. 
The NVA occupied the capital of the northernmost province, Quang Tri City, on May 1 , 
and pressed onward toward Hue. 

The crack ARVN 1st Infantry Division halted the enemy just outside Hue, and as the 
weather cleared A merican airpower began to pound the NVA, softening up defenses for local 
counter-attacks, breaking up NVA attacks, and suppressing the fearsome 1 30mm guas. 
Moreover, President Nixon resumed limited bombing attacks against the North to choke off 
the Northerners* supply lines and to warn them of America's power. Most dramatically, 
he authorized the mining of Haiphong Harbor, the main conduit for Russian supplies. 

The ARVN launched a counteroffers ve in early summer, but the Northerners dug in 
and defended their recently won ground. The NVA suffered grievous casualties, but the 
ARVN made only gradual progress. They did not retake Quang Tri until September 1 7, 
and could claim to have expelled the invaders at the end of October. 

The South Vietnamese repulsed the invasion, but they had needed the full support of 
American airpower to do it. The NVA lost three or four times as many men as the ARVN, 

94 



much material, and most importantly were denied a final victory. Still, the Easter attack 
must be judged a sucoess for the North Vietnamese. If the South Vietnamese wall had not 
come tumbling do wn, it had shown its first cracks. 

Epilogue 

Peace 

President Nixon initiated the bombing to help stop the North Vietnamese offensive, 
and then unleashed it with full fury when the peace negotiations stalled once again late in 
1972. The two sides could talk, but remained fundamentally deadlocked. The North 
Vietnamese insisted that a conciliaiory regime replace South Vietnamese President Thieu's 
government as a precondition to settlement, while the Americans insisted that the NVA 
withdraw from South Vietnamese territory. Finally losing patience with the North 
Vietnamese strategy of "talk, talk; fight, fight", Nixon gave the Air Force and Navy permis- 
sion to mount an unrestricted bombing campaign. 

For eleven days B-52s and fighter-bombers lashed at hitherto prohibited targets in 
Hanoi and Haiphong. Using precision bombing, the planes managed to devastate industrial 
and transportation facilities while minimizing civilian casualties. Only a little over a thousand 
were inadvertently obliterated during the onslaught. The Americans lost heavily lo the 
North Vietnamese anti-aircraft defenses, which included both interceptors and surface-to- 
air missiles. The enemy shot thousands of the latter, which accounted for most of the 15 
B-52s and 1 1 other planes brought down. Once they ran out of missiles, however, the 
Americans had free rein in the skies. The air battle ended only when the Americans ran out 
of targets, the North Vietnamese having indicated four days earlier a willingness (o negotiate 
seriously once the bombing ended. 

The peace, scarcely different from a draft hammered out in October, was signed on 
January 27, 1973. Thieu remained in office, but North Vietnamese units in the South 
remained in place. Thieu's government had gained some more time, but the North 
Vietnamese had maintained a foothold in the South. The accord was much ballyhooed at 
the time, including a Nobel Peace Prize for the two chief negotiators, Henry Kissinger and 
Le Due Tho. Kissinger accepted, but his North Vietnamese counterpart declined the honor, 
for the leaders of both halves of Vietnam saw the accord for what it was: a truce. 

The Fall of South Vietnam 

In 1973 the South Vietnamese controlled about 80% of their own territory, and the 
NVA occupied the rest. The Easier offensive had cost the North Vietnamese so dearly they 
were in no position to hinder Thieu's consolidation of power in the areas he controlled. 
He had over a year in which to forge an independent state. He failed. 

The NVA used the time and freedom from American airpower to create an elaborate 
logistical system capable of sustaining large scale conventional operations. The Soviet 
Union provided substantial amounts of modem equipment and plenty of ammunition 
and supplies. 

While Thieu's regime fought to consolidate its hold on the country and the North 
Vietnamese patiently hacked out improved roads and created huge supply depots, several 
outside events radically altered the balance of power and enabled the NVA to end the war 
with one blow. 

The first was the Watergate affair. Nixon's government became paralyzed by a political 
crisis of its own making. By engaging in and then attempting to cover up illegal espionage 
against the opposition Democratic Party headquarters, Nixon's administration came to pose 

95 



a far greater threat to American Democracy than Vietnamese Communism. Establishing 
the truth and then ousting the President became America's overriding priorities. The process 
rapidly eroded his political power. With it went his ability to deploy American military 
forces and hence to enforce the peace agreement. Congress increasingly restricted his 
freedom of action. On August 9, 1 974 he resigned rather than face impeachment 

The second outside event was the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East This had two 
effects. First, it diverted much American military material away from South Vietnam. 
Second, an Arab embargo on oil to the West stimulated the Organization of Petroleum 
Exporting Countries (OPEC) to form a cartel and begin a series of price hikes that vastly 
increased the price of energy. Modeled on the mechanized American army, ARVN opera- 
tions were suddenly constricted as the price of fuel skyrocketed. With American aid 
dwindling, the A RVN was losing its edge in conventional warfare to the well supplied N VA. 

The South Vietnamese* biggest weakness, however, was apathy, corruption, and 
disillusionment in the ARVN and the rest of society. Even as the final hour approached, 
Saigon's elite engaged in frenzied financial dealings. Their implacable setf-interest set the 
tone for the rest of the country. When the Communist offensive struck in early 1975, 
it advanced tike a sharp ax through a rotten log. 

First, the NVA seized Phuoc Long province. When the Americans made no move in 
support of Thieu, he had no choice but to write off the whole province. Encouraged, the 
North Vietnamese moved on to their next phase, an attack against Ban Me Thout in the 
Central Highlands that quickly destroyed an ARVN division. 

When Ban Me Thout fell, Thieu decided to consolidate his forces by abandoning 
sparsely populated sections of the country in favor of the populous heartlands along the coast 
and in the Mekong Delta. However valid this strategic withdrawal was in theory, a deliberate 
retreat in the face of enemy attack is one of the most difficult military maneuvers, and the 
ARVN was not up to it. Poorly planned and organized, the retreat from the Highlands turned 
into a rout, and the NVA swept into the northern half of the country. Advancing boldly, the 
Communists captured Hue and Danang after little fighting. 

Then, shifting their weight for the Final blow, the Northerners turned on Saigon. The 
ARVN 18th Division made a valiant stand at Xuan Loc, waiting, like the French at Dien 
Bien Phu 21 years before, for American bombers that never came. What American aircraft 
did appear in the skies over the South were helicopters evacuating Americans and selected 
Vietnamese from the rooftop of the American embassy in Saigon. The NVA massed four 
divisions against the solitary ARVN 1 8th, and overwhelmed it. With resistance crumbling 
everywhere, the North Vietnamese entered Saigon on April 30, 1975, and renamed it in 
honor of Ho Chi Minh. The war was over. 

Guide to the Game 

The North Vietnamese Easter Offensive opened the final, conventional phase in the 
war. Just as the Viet Minh had moved from political agitation and establishing remote 
bases to protracted guerrilla war to a conventional coup de grace at Dien Bien Phu, so, too, 
the North Vietnamese moved through the same progression from the late 1 950s through 
the early 1 970s against the South Vietnamese. Only this time, the Communists attacked not 
one isolated outpost, but all over the country. Furthermore, they employed modern medium 
tanks and the latest Soviet long range artillery, which easily outclassed the ARVN's older 
equipment. Particularly in the early fighting in Quang Tri province the battle resembled 
World War II, with tanks sweeping across open countryside and bitter infantry battles at 
close quarters. It was a gritty and at times desperate fight 



<w 



First Cracks contains two variants: a short historical one, Blitzkrieg, and a long historical 
one. The Battle for Quang Tri, You can play either side first in Blitzkrieg, but it is 
recommended that you play the ARVN in The Batik fcr Quang Tri first, since that variant 
contains some surprises. 

VARIANT ONE 
Blitzkrieg 

Introduction 

Blitzkrieg recreates the shattering first week of the North Vietnamese offensive. The 
NVA attacked south across the DMZ and east out of the Khe Sanh area, led by tanks and 
backed by heavy artillery. Their goal is to push through the ARVN border defenses and 
breach the natural line of defense along the Cua Viet River. Opposing them are one low 
quality ARVN infantry division and a miscellany of crack units. Will the North Vietnamese 
be able to crack open the front, or will the ARVN coalesce into a firm defensive line? The 
answer depends on you! 

The ARVN 

ARVN Objectives 

As commander of the 3rd ARVN division and attached units, your job is to guard the 
DMZ and western approaches to Quang Tri City. When the NVA onslaught opens, you 
must parry it in order to buy time for reserves to move up from the south 

Victory Conditions: You must prevent the NVA from capturing 100 or more Victory 
Points, while inflicting at least three NVA casualties for every two your forces suffer. You 
cannot gain an automatic victory in this variant, but be careful because the NVA will if they 
capture two critical locations. 



ARVN Variant Information 








Start: lam, March 30, 1972 








End: 6 pm, April 


6, 1972 








Initial Supply: Ample 








Resupply Rate: 


Ample 








Off-map Suppl} 


r':Easi 








Replacement Rate: 25 men per unit 


each week 






Reinforcements: (see chart) 








Reinforcements: 








Date Time 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 




3/30/72 m 


I7ACR 


East edge 


50% 




4/1/72 m 


IsiBombWng 


US Sanctuary 


50% 






2nd Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


33% 




4/2/72 m 


258MarHQ 


Beach 


50% 






1/258 Mar Bn 


Beach 


50% 






2/258 Mar Bn 


Beach 


50% 






3/258 Mar Bn 


Beach 


50% 




4/3/72 n 


l/l RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/3/72 m 


2/IRngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/4/72 n 


3/1 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 





97 



4/4/72 


m 


1/5 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 


4/5/72 





2/5 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 


4/5/72 


m 


3/5 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 


4/6/72 


n 


4/5 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 






115TFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 






232 TFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 



Abbreviations: 

ACR ■ Armored Cavalry Regiment 
Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing 
MarHQ = Marine Headquarters 
Mar Bn = Marine Battalion 
Rng Bn = Ranger Battalion 



TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron 
Beach = Coastal hexes east of Luong Kim 
East edge = Road on east edge of map 
m, n = midnight, noon 



Special Rule: To reflect the demoralization of the ARVN in the face of the initial NVA 
attack, ARVN units are particularly unsteady during the Erst few days of combat. 

Commanding the ARVN 

You are in a very difficult position. The NVA have a three to one advantage in n umbers 
and they also have a qualitative edge, particularly in artillery. You must move your reserves 
forward as quickly as possible and establish a line of fortified positions along the Cua Viet 
River, Remember to put your best units, the armor or Marines, in Dong Ha. It is the 
linchpin of your whole position. 



TlieNVA 

NVA Victory Conditions: 

You must capture Victory Point locations worth at least 100 Victory Points while 
causing at least two casualties for every three you suffer. You can win an immediate 
automatic victory by capturing two critical locations. 



NVA Variant Information 

Start lam, March 30, 1972 

End: 6 pm, April 6, 1972 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: Northwest 

Replacement Rate: 50 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcernents: None 






Commanding the NVA 

As commander of the revolutionary forces poised to strike at the South Vietnamese 
border defenses, your task is to drive hard and fast to shatter them before American airpower 
and ARVN reiniorcements can come into play. Your artillery is your strongest asset, so you 
should use it instead of ground troops whenever possible. Meanwhile, the armor and 
infantry should move forward, pushing as deep into enemy territory as possible. Avoid at all 
costs a static battle, for once the ARVN fortify you will find it difficult to dislodge them. 



QR 




UANG 

TRI 

972 








99 



VARIANT TWO 

The Battle for Quang Tri 

Introduction 

This variant recreates the full NVA offensive from the initial attacks to the fall of 
Quang Tri City. It is a long and taxing scenario, but rewards play with a tense and 

challenging game. 

TheARVN 

ARVN Objectives 

Your objective is to stem the North Vietnamese tide. In particular, you must defend 
the populous lowlands, al ong the coast. 

Victory Conditions: You must keep the NVA from gaining more than 300 Victory 
Points by defending Victory Point locations and inflicting at least three NVA casualties for 
every two the ARVN suffer. You cannot win an automatic decisive victory, but beware: 
the NVA can by capturing all four critical locations (Dong Ha, FSB Tango, Trieu Phong, 
and Quang Tri). 

ARVN Variant Information 
Start lam, March 30, 1972 

End: 6pm, May 1,1972 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

OfT-map Supply: East 

Replacement Rate: 25 men per unit each week 

Reinforcements: (see chart) 






Reinforcements: 








Date 


Tune 


Unit 


Location 


Probability 




3/30/72 


m 


I7ACR 


East edge 


50% 




4/1/72 


m 


hi Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


50% 








2nd Bomb Wng 


US Sanctuary 


33% 




4/2/72 


m 


258 MarHQ 


Beach 


50* 








1/258 Mar Bn 


Beach 


50% 








2/258 Mar Bn 


Beach 


50% 








3/258 Mar Bn 


Beach 


50%. 




4/3/72 


n 


1/1 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/3/72 


m 


2/lRngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/4/72 


n 


3/ 1 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/4/72 


m 


1/5 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


too"; 




4/5/72 


n 


2/5 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/5/72 


m 


3/5 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/6/72 


n 


4/5 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 








115TFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 








232 TFS 


US Sanctuary 


100% 




4/6/72 


m 


5/5 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/7/72 


n 


6/5 Rng Bn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/7/72 


in 


7/5 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 




4/8/72 


n 


8/5 RngBn 


Quang Tri City 


100% 





100 



4/8/72 a 9/5RngBn QuangTriCity 100? 

212 TFS US Sanctuary 10CW 

224 TFS US Sanctuary 10Xr3 

4/10/72 n 18thACR East edge 50* 

4/11/72 m 4th ACR East edge 25% 

Abbreviations: 

ACR = Armored Cavalry Regiment TFS = Tactical Fighter Squadron 

Bomb Wng = Bomber Wing Beach = Coaslal hexes east of Luong Kim 

MarHQ = Marine Headq uarters East edge = Road on east edge of map 

Mar Bn = Marine Battalion m, n = midnight, noon 
Rng Bn = Ranger Battalion 



Special Rules: 

1. To reflect the demoralization of the ARVN in the face of the initial NVA attack, 
ARVN units are particularly unsteady during the first few days. 

2. Because the ARVN's morale was very brittle, they may become very weak under 
pressure during the course of the game. 

Commanding the ARVN 

Once again, you start off in command of the ARVN 3rd Division plus attached units 
defending against the primary NVA attack. You must do your best to hold back the 
onslaught while reinforcements arrive. With these you should be able to form a solid 
defensive line, and perhaps even begin to counterattack. Your airpower should be 
concentrated against the NVA artillery, because this is the backbone of the enemy offensive. 

The NVA 

NVA Objectives 

Your objective is to break through the ARVN border defenses and drive on the 
important provincial capiuil Quang Tri City. 

Victory Conditions: You musi gain 300 Victory Points or more by capturing territory 
and maintaining a loss rate no more than 50% greater than the ARVN. You can win an 
automatic decisive victory by capturing four criu'cal locations (Dong Ha, FSB Tango, 
Trieu Phong, and Q ua ng Tri ), 

NVA Variant Information 

Start: lam, March 30, 1972 

End: 6pm, May 1.1972 

Initial Supply: Ample 

Resupply Rate: Ample 

Off-map Supply: Northwest 

Replacement Rate: 50 men and 5 heavy weapons per unit each week 

Reinforcements: (see chart) 



Reinforcements: 

Date Time Unit Location Probability 

4/7/72 



308 DivHQ 


Norlh edge 


1/88 InfBn 


North edge 


2/8SlnfBn 


North edge 


3/88 InfBn 


North edge 


1/102 InfBn 


North ediy 



lOK 
100? 
100* 
100? 
100S 



101 







2/102 Inf Bn 


North edge 100* 






3/102 Inf Bn 


North edge 100% 






308AnBn 


North edge 100% 






308 Art Bn 


North edge 100% 


4/7/72 m 




1/36 Inf Bn 


North edge 100% 






2/36 Inf Bn 


North edge 100% 






3/36 Inf Bn 


North edge 100% 


Abbreviations 








DivHQ = 


Divisional Headquarters 


Art Bn =Artillery Battalion 


Inf Bn = Infantry 


Battalion 


m, n = midnight, noon 



Special Rules: Because of pre-planning and special training, your troops will be at their 
most effective during the first week of the attack. 

Commanding the NVA 

In this variant, your strategy should be similar to that in Blitzkrieg: use your artillery to 
smash ARVN resistance while your armor and infantry to press forward relentlessly. Always 
push into empty territory. Grab as much as possible, as fast as possible, to disrupt enemy 
defensive positions and encircle enemy units. Do not stop even if your units become very 
depleted, for once a solid front is formed, your units will become easy prey for American 
airpower. The key is to utilize your artillery to the maximum and press your ground troops 
ever forward. 



102 






V 

Notes 
















103 



INTRODUCTION 

This section consists of two parts, the Designers' Notes and the Recommended Readings. 
The Designers' Notes contain reflections of the design of CONFLICT IN VIETNAM and 
some concluding observations about the war itself. The Recommended Readings list the 
books and articles that proved helpful in preparing the games, and includes brief comments 
about their contents, strong points, and weaknesses. 

Designer's Notes 

Comments on the Game Design 

Like any historical reconstruction, a computer simulation involves many judgements 
about what to include or not include, and how to present what is included. Some features of 
a game represent deliberate design decisions, while others involve "lesser of the two evils" 
compromises with sources of information, computer memory , and the designers' endurance. 
Whatever the cause, these decisions deserve mention, particularly in a simulation as unusual 
as CONFLICT IN VIETNAM. 

The first decision was which battles to simulate, The number, five, is the greatest number 
we could fit onto a disk. The choices represent a trade-off between the importance of a battle 
and its suitability as a game. Dien Bien Phu, Khe Sanh, and Cambodia were included 
primarily because of their importance in the history of the war. la Drang and Quang Tri 
were attractive because they are tense and tightly balanced contests, and therefore make 
particularly good game situations. These distinctions are relative and not absolute, of course. 
Both la Drang and Quang Tri were important battles, even though they were not well 
known. The KJie Sanh game also presents a tense contest, while the Cambodia and 
Dien Bien Phu games include a variety of challenging combats amongst the variants. 

The second decision that has raised questions is the scale. Most commentary on the 
war has focused either on the very tactical level (individual experiences and small unit 
actions), or on the strategic and diplomatic issues of why we got involved and how we 
conducted national policy. That split focus has left a gap in the middle, the operational 
level which implements strategies by coordinating tactics. CONFLICT IN VIETNAM 
fills that gap. The War in Vietnam was, after all, a war, not just a series of disjointed fire- 
fights and not some abstract chess game played upon the world stage. Our officers led our 
soldiers across a series of battlefields, and how they maneuvered and fought had much to 
do with the outcome. 

A third, related question, concerns the relationship between game-play and reality. 
When I showed the simulation to some officers who had commanded in Vietnam, they 
pointed out that operationally the basic maneuver element was the company and the basic 
artillery unit was the battery, whereas in the game they are the battalion. However, further 
discussion revealed that in practice, when contact was made, companies would pile on 
and batteries would concentrate within range, so that the effect was of battalion strength 
operations. Given the complexity that tripling the number of units would have created, 
we are satisfied that we have achieved a reasonable compromise between reality and 
simulation. 

Another, more technical question raised by the officers was the question of unit desig- 
nations. The military has a very precise way of identifying units, a way which makes a lot 
of sense for their purposes, but which is both complex and difficult (o understand. Its 
complexity makes it expensive in terms of memory to reproduce on a computer, while its 
technicality makes it difficult for civilians to understand. Therefore, we chose a system of 

104 



nomenclature that conveys the spirit of the military system but streamlines it for the computer 
and simplifies it for civilians. 

Furthermore, for the sake of both the computer and the player the American system 
of unit designations has been carried over to the North and South Vietnamese armies. 
The South Vietnamese system was generally modeled on the American, but its corres- 
pondence to the game system is lower. The NVA actually numbered each battalion 
separately, but since sources for these are lacking, the system adopted seemed as good as any. 

Movement rates were another problem. A battalion moving through dense jungle might 
travel little more than a mile in a day, while a battalion in trucks could move many miles 
per hour. To some extent, this disparity is reduced when we realize that both a convoy of 
trucks will move rather slowly if mines and ambushes are a danger, and that to move a 
battalion involves more than just trucking a bunch of men around. In the game, a unit can 
move a long distance quite quickly, but il will arrive at reduced effectiveness and will 
require a good while to regain it. 

One issue which aroused strong feelings was what to call losses on the status display 
screen. Fora white, the display kept track of only those men killed inaction, the body count. 
This figure was calculated by dividing the American casualties by one factor and the NVA 
by another. However, we reverted to total casualties for two reasons. One was to avoid 
offending those who lost relatives in Vietnam and therefore might find it offensive to count 
bodies, even in simulation. Second, the body count creates a misleading impression of 
the casualty ratios, because many Americans survived wounds that would have killed 
Vietnamese. 

The last issue that has raised questions is the level of sophistication incorporated into 
CONFLICT IN VIETNAM. Very early in the design process we decided not to ease play 
by making a "World War II in the jungle" game. Instead we strove to simulate war in 
Vietnam as closely as possible. Commanders on both sides confronted unique challenges. 
The Americans had unprecedented mobility and overwhelming firepower, but found it 
difficult to locate the enemy and bring the weight of ordnance to bear. The North Vietnamese 
had to move and strike carefully, or their units were decimated to no effect. Both had to learn 
the value of patience and meticulous planning. The playtesters found that they confronted 
the same problems, and came up with the same solutions, as their historical counterparts. 
We are confident that anyone interest in knowing more about the war will find CONFLICT 
IN VIETNAM a satisfying challenge and an illuminating experience. We have included 
hints on play from the playtesters, but there is no substitute for first hand experience. 
Bool up the game and play! When you do, 'you will discover what made Vietnam a 
uniquely challenging military situation. 

I fi.storical Observations 

The War in Vietnam was an overwhelming fact of life for Americans who lived through 
it, including those who did not serve there. It was on TV, in the newspapers, and in conver- 
sations. More than anything else it divided the generations and propelled many young 
people into radical politics and alternative cultures, 

Consequently, it is difficult to recognize [hat the war is now history, as much a part of 
the past for the generation coming of age in the 1 980s as World War II and the Korean War 
were for that which came of age in the late '60's. This fact did not hit home until 1 began 
researching the topic, using the skills as a professional historian I acquired in the late 1 970s to 
look again at the events I had lived through the decade before. As I worked on the game 
I was reminded of many of the issues that preoccupied America during the war vear, J( iu j 
gradually formed new perspectives on them, perspectives shaped by distance and informed 

Id? 



by the wealth of material that has appeared since then . 

The most basic issue was what the war was about. Having gone back into the French 
phase in designing the simulation, it appears to me that the war was about two things: 
whether Vietnam would be independent, and, once independent, what kind of society u 
would be. The French war settled the issue of liberation: as elsewhere in the post-war world, 
European colonialism was defeated, and the Vietnamese took their place amongst the 
politically sovereign peoples of the world. However, the French war left the second part of 
the issue unresolved, and this clouded the first. Half of the country was ruled by the victors of 
the French war, the Viel Minh, whose commitment to create a communistic society was 
as deep as their nationalism. The other half was governed by a regime headed by a genuine 
nationalist, but one whose government was a creation of American policy and whose 
political and economic orientation tied him tightly to the United States, Consequently, 
many Vietnamese, and increasingly many Americans, who did not share the Communists' 
social program agreed with them thai the question of independence was not yet settled. 
This justifiable doubt about South Vietnam's national independence undercut American 
efforts throughout the ideological struggle. 

The most basic issue of the second, American, phase of the war was why America 
intervened. During the war, America was portrayed as either an altruistic champion of 
democratic humanism or a cynical agent of exploitative international capitalism. The reality, 
of course, was somewhere in between. America certainly felt that it had a concrete, material 
stake in the war in Vietnam, No country would spend the vast sums that America spent 
without expecting some practical rewards in the end, whether they be resources and 
markets or geopolitical advantage. Yet there was an honest and heartfelt strain of idealism 
in America's commitment, a genuine belief that the effort would spare the South Vietnamese 
the agony of Communist inspired social upheaval and bring them the benefits of a Western 
way of life. 

That America was inspired by a mixture of motives is not unusual or reprehensible. 
Every large power must and will defend its own interests, even at the cost of infringing on 
those of lesser powers. But those lesser powers a re inest i mably better off if the greater power 
is motivated and constrained by a humane set of values, no matter how strained these may 
become in the heat of battle. All countries commit outrages in the harsh world of inter- 
national conflict; America was one of the few that admitted it and fell shame. That may 
not seem like much to people who wonder why the world is not perfect, but for those who 
look at it as it is, America's openness and sense of conscience, however imperfect, stand 
out in an international order dominated by closed societies that recognize only realpolitik. 

Less encouraging is how the war was fought. Strategically, America was hamstrung by 
the problem of infinite escalation. What this means is that the North Vietnamese were willing 
and able to match every step by the United States. The initial steps by which America 
became embroiled in the war, a policy called graduated response, proved a failure because 
instead of acting "rationally" and caving in when threatened by American might, the 
Communist leadership dug in its heals and became even more determined. Furthermore, 
the assumption that by graduating our responses we retained the ability to pull back at will 
proved illusory. We became trapped in a cycle of escalation with the North Vietnamese 
in a struggle that would strain both countries to their limits. 

Later, hawkish Americans wanted to invade Laos and Cambodia to destroy North 
Vietnamese sanctuaries and infiltration networks. The problem with this strategy was that 
the North Vietnamese could have just built bases deeper inside these countries, and if these 
had been threatened, in North Vietnam itself. Of course, some would have advocated that 



106 



we invade the North in turn, but then the problem would have simply shifted to China, 
which acted as a sanctuary during the French war and, dominated by the Maoist Red 
Guards, would certainly have rallied again. The costs and difficulties of a war against China 
would have been staggering and, judging by the current importance of China as a counter- 
weight to Russia, a tragic mistake. 

Wise as American restraint may have been, it did leave the North Vietnamese the 
strategic initiative, which they proved with the Tet Offensive. In 1966 American airmobility 
and firepower knocked them off balance, but once they realized that the Americans had 
simply established a massive human meatgrinder in South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese 
held back except so far as it served their purpose to keep the fight going. While the Americans 
methodically subdued the South in 1967, the North Vietnamese began to maneuver in 
preparation for Tet. The Americans scarcely noticed, but for the North Vietnamese losses on 
the battlefield changed from tragic defeats to calculated diversions. It is sobering to read 
accounts by American officers that still recount Con Thien and Khe Sanh as overwhelming 
American victories because of the numbers of bodies counted, ignoring the fact that they 
both accomplished their strategic purposes and contributed directly to the ultimate North 
Vietnamese victory. 

The North Vietnamese' initiative on the strategic level paralleled their ability to main- 
tain the tactical initiative as well, although in this case not because of any American fore- 
bearance but because of the nature of revolutionary war. In the countryside, they were able 
to choose between political agitation, guerrilla warfare, and conventional attack, and the 
Americans had to be ready to counter all three. Most of the time, both the Viet Cong and 
the NVA relied on guerrilla tactics. The Americans had a difficult time finding the enemy 
and, once that was accomplished, they had difficulty fixing him. If they could accomplish 
that, they had no problem destroying him, but it was a frustrating and ultimately futile game 
of blind man's bluff. While the Americans did sometimes manage to surprise the enemy or 
l maneuver him into fighting on their terms, most of the time it appears to have been his 
decision when to be found and how hard to fight. 

The only alternative to America's high-tech, airmobile approach would have been to 
saturate the country with ground troops, but they would have been difficult to mobilize, 
and the increased casualties that would have resulted would have been difficult to sustain. 
It was not a question of whether America had the manpower, but whether this was how 
the nation wanted to spend it. 

This dilemma lay at the heart of the last major issue of the war why the Republic of 
Vietnam did not survive. The most obvious reason is that there was a limit to American 
endurance, to how much America was willing to spend in a small country half-way around 
the world. This limit was clearly manifested by the decline in public support for the war, 
both in the press and in the public at large. However, there were deeper and more compelling 
limits in economics and strategy. These, not street demonstrations or editorials, changed 
the American government's policy. Basically, the United States was spending money and 
lives all out of proportion to what it had at stake, spending sums that its economy could not 
sustain, and diverting dangerous amounts of its military strength away from more vital 
areas of national interest in Europe and the Middle East. It is important to remember that 
the economic difficulties that bedeviled America into the early '80s stemmed from its 
profligate spending in Vietnam, and it was a decade before the damage to its forces in 
Europe and in Continental reserve was repaired. America turned away from victory not out 
of whimsy, but because the most knowledgeable and hard-headed men in the government 
decided that it just was not worth the cost. 



107 



The converse of American limitations was the almost limitless commitment of the North 
Vietnamese. Their top leadership was ready to sustain any losses to win, and they were 
backed by the Soviet Union and China, both of which were more than happy to supply 
them with the necessary arms. The Communist great powers could thus frustrate America 
on the cheap, while the North Vietnamese were willing to pay any price to win. The South 
Vietnamese, who should have bom the brunt of their own defense, never seemed to realize 
what was at stake, or perhaps they were just able to let the Americans carry the ball for loo 
long. In the end, the North Vietnamese won because it mattered more to them than to 
anyone else. They were the ones prepared to "bear any burden, pay any price" to achieve 
victory. 

Recommended Readings 

The War in Vietnam has inspired a vast literature. During the war the emphasis was on 
national policy: should we be there, and if so, how could we win? When we withdrew that 
source of inspiration dried up and those books were replaced by a series of novels and 
autobiographies by participants. These continue to appear, but have recently been joined 
by books about the war as a military action. These latter are of two types: coffee table 
picture books and studies of small unit actions. The former are often of higher quality than 
one might expect the later are gold-mines for anyone seriously interested in learning how 
the war was fought. Few military histories of the war as a whole have appeared and no 
official history has yet been issued. Even less has appeared from the Vietnamese. 

Histories of the War 

Stanley Kamow, Vietnam: A History (1983); a comprehensive survey of Vietnamese 
history and the war, based on the a ward- winning PBS series, with emphasis on the growth 
of American involvement and a generally liberal point of view. 

Michael Maclear, The Ten Thousand Day War (1981); a history of the war from 
1945 to 1975, with much information and many critical insights - so many that it manages 
to find fault with practically everything the Americans did in Vietnam, from the way we 
intervened to the way we left. 

Dave Richard Palmer, Summons Of The Trumpet (1978); an outstanding military 
history of the war by a senior officer who served in it. An invaluable work, though some of 
his judgements of national policy are clearly those of a soldier. 

Robert Pisor, The End Of The Line (1982); a superb journalistic history, focusing on 
the battle of Khe Sanh, but also critically illuminating the background and history of the 

war to 1968. 

The Pentagon Papers (1971); originally a massive secret study of American intervention 
commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, it was leaked to THE NEW 
YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST by Defense Department analyst Daniel 
Ellsburg. The entire 47 volumes are available, as well as an abridged one volume paperback 

version. 

Vietnam The History And The Tactics, ed. John Pimlott (1982); a well illustrated 

survey of the conflict from 1 945 to the early 1 980s. 

Tom Cahart, Battles And Campaigns In Vietnam, 1954-1 984; another well illustrated 
history, this one of specific battles and containing much detailed information. 

War In Peace, ed. Ashley Brown and Sam Elder ( 1 98 1 ); a survey of wars since 1 945, 
with extensive sections on both the French and American phases of the Vietnam war. 

108 



Orders of Battle 

Shelby Stanton, Vietnam Order of Battle (1981); a superb book thai details every 
American Army unit, including support elements. Contains a wealth of other information 
also. Not for the casual reader, but invaluable for the researcher; unfortunately no longer 
in print. 

The French War 

Edgar O'Ballance, The Indo- China War, 1 945- 1 954 ( 1 964); a solid study. 

Bernard Fall, Street Without Joy ( 1 961 ); a classic if somewhat spotty study of the French 
military effort by one of the foremost authorises on the war. 

Bernard Fall, Hell In A Very Small Place ( 1 966); a thorough and well written account 
of the final battle. 

Jutes Roy, The Battle For Dien Bieti Phu (1963); another good account of the battle, 
a good complement to Fall's. 

Studies of Small Unit Actions 

S.LA. Marshall, Vietnam: Three Battles ( 1 97 1 ); a very detailed and well written study 
of American airmobile operations by an expert on small unit actions. 

S.L.A. Marshall, Baitlesln TheMonsoons( 1966); another excellent study. 

Infantry In Vietnam, ed. LTC Albert Garland, USA (Ret.) ( 1967); a systematic study 
of small unit tactics in 1 965 and '66 based on interviews with participants. 

A Distant Challenge, ed. Infantry Magazine (1983); a long delayed sequel to Infantry 
In Vietnam, but organized chronologically and incorporating enure articles by small 
unit leaders. 

John Cash, John Albright, and Allan Sandstrum, Seven Firefights In Vietnam (1970); 
a set of reports by officers that had served in combat, prepared under the auspices of the 
Office of the Chief of Military History for the Army, and recently released in paperback. 

Official Army and Marine Studies 

Lieutenant General John Hay, Jr., Tactical And Material Innovations (1974); a 
discussion of operations from 1965 to 1968 focusing on new techniques of warfare adopted 
to cope with the new form of warfare. 

General Donn Starry, Mounted Combat In Vietnam (1978); a history of armored 
vehicles in the Vietnam wars by the man who commanded the 1 1th Armored Cavalry 
Regiment during the Cambodian incursion. 

Lieutenant General Julian Ewcll and Major General Ira Hunt, Sharpening The Combat 
Edge (1974); a monograph on various command and control techniques developed in 
Vietnam. 

Edward Hymoff, First Marine Division: Vietnam (1967); a short and glossy account 
of the division's first two years in Vietnam, reflecting the optimism of the times. 

Moyers Shore, USMC, The Bank For Khe Sanh ( 1 969); an official history of the battle, 
full of useful information, although its official sponsorship makes some of its evaluations of 
command decisions necessarily suspect. 

Tran Dinh Tho, 77te Cambodian Incursion (1979); an account of the cross-border 
operations by a former South Vietnamese officer. 

The Air War 

Peter Mersky and Norman Polmar, The Naval Air War In Vietnam ( 198 1 ); a compre- 
hensive study of one aspect of the air war. 

109 



Bernard Nalty, Air Power And The Fighl For Khe Sanh (1973); full of information, 
but with conclusions somewhat suspect since this is an official history published within 
a few years of the battle. 

Pushpindar Singh, A Guide To Air Power In Asia And The Pacific {191 \)\ a country- 
by-country listing of air assets around 1 970. 

General William Momyer USAF (Ret), The Vietnamese Air Force, 1951-1975 
(1975); a brief history of the RVAF, published by the United States Air Force. 

Development Of Strategic Air Command, 1946-1976, text by J.C. Hopkins (1976); 
another official USAF publication, but full of information on the US heavy bomber forces, 
including during the war years. 

Works on the Communist Forces 

Douglas Pike, Viet Cong ( 1966); an analysis of the indigenous Communist movement 
in South Vietnam. • 

Vo Nguyen Giap, How We Won The War (1976); a short discussion of the North 
Vietnamese strategy, full of stiff Communist rhetoric and undoubtedly containing distortions 
and omissions, but nevertheless a critical source for understanding North Vietnamese strategy 
and tactics. 

Van Tien Dung, Our Great Spring Victory { 1 977); an account of the final N VA offen- 
sive in 1975 by the man who commanded it, with the same shortcomings and value as 
Giap's book. 

First-hand Accounts 

Frederick Downs, The Killing Zone (1978); an account by an army platoon leader of 
his experiences from 1 967 to 1 968. 

Robert Mason, Chickenhawk (1983); the experiences of a helicopter pilot with the 
First Cavalry division during its first year in action. 

Philip Caputo, A Rumor Of War ( 1 977); a superb account by a Marine lieutenant who 
served in the first year of the war. 

Everything We Had, ed. Al Santoli (1981); a collection ol short anecdotes by thirty- 
three Americans who served in Southeast Asia from 1 962 to 1 975. 

Vietnam Militaria 

Leroy Thompson, Uniforms Of The Indo- China A nd Vietnam Wars { 1 984); a book full 
of color illustrations and containing some text. 

Simon Dunstan, Vietnam Tracks (1982); a history of armored warfare in Vietnam, 
with lots of photographs. 

Articles 

Alexander Cochran, "First Strike at River Drang", in Military History (October, 1 984); 
an interview with General Harry W.O. Kinnard, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division 
in 1965. 

John Kramer, "Cohesion and Disintegration: American Forces in Vietnam," in Strategy. 
And Tactics (March-April, 1971); a combination of history and personal reminiscences, 
with a little hard information. 

John Prados, "The Year of the Rat: Vietnam, 1972," in Strategy And Tactics (November, 
1 972); a large article full of information and opinions, dated but still very useful. 






110 



DEDICATION 

CONFLICT IN VIETNAM is dedicated to the memory of 

Re. Michael John Patrick Callahan, USMC 

(June 17, 1949 -Novembers, 1967) 

Killed in Action, Vietnam 



CREDITS 
Design and Documentation: 

Ed Bever, Ph.D. 

Programming and Design: 

Sid Meier 
with John Harris and Gregg Tavares 

Research: 

Nick Meriwether 

Playtesting: 

Action Gameware, Inc.: John Stanoch, Pres., Mike Dodge, 

Mike La Bruno, Mike Meusz 

Also: Evan Brooks 

Documentation: 

Arnold Hendrick, Ed Bever, 
Michael Haire, Don Schram 

Conversions: 

Sid Meier, John Harris, and Gregg Tavares (C-64), 
Jim Synoski (Apple), Don Await and Edward Hill, Jr. (IBM) 

Theme Song: 

"The Ballad of The Green Berets" 
©1963, 1964, 1966 Music Music Music, Inc. 

Special Thanks: 

Brigadier General Raymond Bell (USAR), 

Brigadier General Donald Whelan (USA, ret.), 

Colonel John Sloan (USA, ret.) 

Dr. Christine Lunardini, Ph.D. 






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